Serious questions must now be asked about the real intent driving these changes
The government’s last-minute amendments to the Climate Action Bill have compromised the legislation, according to Social Democrats Climate Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.
On Friday, the government introduced a series of amendments to the Bill in the Seanad which will be voted on in the Dáil on Wednesday. After raising this issue in the Dáil with the Taoiseach today, Deputy Whitmore said:
“These government amendments attempt to undo all the hard work we, in the Opposition, have done to campaign for a stronger, more responsive Climate Action Bill – and all at the very last minute.
“Their amendments not only weaken the language in the Bill, they also attempt to work around our international obligations when setting out carbon budgets and when calculating what emissions to include in each budget. They also raise serious questions about the independence of the Climate Advisory Council.
“They are a departure from scientific methodologies that are well established by climate scientists. Instead it will now be open to the government, which is routinely intensely lobbied by interest groups, to control how emissions are calculated. It is beyond me why the Minister for Environment could agree to these changes.
“I have submitted amendments which would put science front and centre of our response to climate action once again. My amendments would ensure the government must comply with the Paris Agreement, and other European and international obligations, when drafting carbon budgets and emissions targets.
“I wish to acknowledge the assistance of people from eNGOs on alerting us to these issues, particularly Prof. John Sweeney’s tireless efforts, and vigilance in championing climate action, and that of Dr Andrew Jackson at this critical juncture for the Bill.
“I hope the government will accept my amendments and explain why they sought such last-minute changes in the most anti-democratic way. Serious questions must now be asked about the real intent driving these changes and whether the government is really committed to tackling climate change.”
13 July, 2021