SIR – I wish to respond to criticism in last week’s editorial on the absence of specific targets in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill. Much has been said about targets, but critics have missed the point that the Government has fully signed up to all binding EU targets and there was no need to reiterate them in this Bill. During the process of drafting this legislation the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht established with academic experts and people with expertise at various levels that we are bound by European targets. The absence of numerical targets in this Bill is not a cause for concern.
When European law changes, we are bound and obligated by that law. The point of failing to meet targets therefore is baseless.
Some commentators have to acknowledge that this is the first whole of Government approach and legislation for the area of climate policy.
Despite the fact that the issue of Climate Change has, by and large, been shouldered off the political map by the economic and fiscal crisis, the Labour Party have not ignored the reality of climate change. We fought for its inclusion in the Programme for Government 2011-2016, and committed to ‘publish a Climate Change Bill which will provide certainty surrounding government policy and provide a clear pathway for emissions reductions, in line with negotiated EU 2020 targets’.
I should note that during its almost four years in Government, the Green Party, Fianna Fail and independents had the golden opportunity to legislate for climate change, but were more intent on pandering to vested interests who destroyed the economic and social fabric of our country. The Green Party did absolutely nothing to advance matters in respect of something which, apparently, was one of its primary aims.
While the Bill has been a long time in the making, I believe that it provides a sound basis for ensuring that we strike the right balance between ambition and practicality and I look forward to its enactment in the coming weeks.
Michael McCarthy, TD,
Chair of Oireachtas
Committee on the
and the Gaeltacht.