July 9th, 2019
There is a notable disparity between the policy ambition in the recent landmark Oireachtas climate committee report and the Government’s new climate plan, a coalition of non-governmental and civil society organizations has said.
The Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) coalition and the Environmental Pillar released their report today analyzing the government’s recently launched Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown. The plan contains 180 actions in areas such as transport, electricity generation, agriculture, heating and waste.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA) report was published in April with over 40 recommendations to the Government and was a “landmark” in climate policy, according to Catherine Devitt of Stop Climate Chaos.
However, Ms Devitt said at the launch of today’s analysis, there is a “disconnect” between the JOCCA document and the subsequent Climate Action Plan.
While the JOCCA report stressed the need for agricultural diversification, the government plan does not go “far enough” in its agricultural sector, according to Ms Devitt.
She also noted the disparity between the Joint Committee’s recommendation of a Just Transition task force and the Climate Action Plan’s suggestion of a review group, a body which she says already exists under the National Economic and Social Council (NESC).
Today’s report also states that the Climate Action Plan ignored the JOCCA recommendation for a stronger coherence between climate and biodiversity policy objectives, despite the fact that the Dail declared both a climate and biodiversity emergency in May.
While their analysis welcomes the Plan’s proposals for improved governance structures and mechanisms for climate measures, Oisin Coghlan of SCC highlighted the importance of the Government putting these reforms into law in order to guarantee these new measures are implemented.
One of the governance measures under the Climate Action plan, the government intends to establish a Climate Action Delivery Board within the Department of An Taoiseach, a move that can, according to Mr Coghlan be “an engine for driving implementation.”
However, Mr Coghlan also noted that government’s plan would have been great “ten years ago”, and stressed that, “there isn’t a day to waste. We need to make this into law as soon as possible.”
DCU Professor Barry McMullin was amongst the panel of speakers at the coalition’s report launch and said that despite its length, the Government’s plan is “obscure”.
Prof McMullin also noted that as a small nation, Ireland is “completely at the mercy” of the actions of high greenhouse gas-emitting countries, and its future is dependent on ensuring such countries adhere to the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Therefore, he continued, Ireland has a diplomatic role to play in persuading larger economies to reduce their own carbon footprints. However, Ireland can only do so if it effectively wrangles in its own greenhouse gas emissions.