Campaigners’ criticism of Climate Bill continues to grow

Source: Greennews.ie

8 June 2021 

Criticism of the Climate Bill continues to accumulate from campaigners as the legislation makes its way through the Oireachtas. 

The Bill is currently undergoing Select Committee Stage, whereby over 200 amendments have been proposed by TDs. 

However, early on in the process Minister for Climate Action Eamon Ryan indicated that only Government amendments would be accepted going forward. 

Climate Case Ireland, the organisation that successfully won its landmark case against the Government last summer, said they were extremely disappointed by the development late last week. 

“How can the Government – and particularly the Green Party – justify voting against Ireland committing in law to do its fair share to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5 C?” Climate Case Ireland campaign coordinator Clodagh Daly said. 

Claims that the Bill in its revised form is more ambitious than its predecessor are, “simply not enough”, according to Ms. Daly. 

“The Bill will not enable steep emissions reductions in the short-term, and this makes it inadequate from a scientific and climate justice perspective. We know that this Bill is our last shot at remaining below 1.5 C. We need a Bill that follows the science and aligns with climate justice,” she added. 

Climate Case Ireland also warned last month that the Bill remained “insufficient” following its revision.

The group have asked for additional measures in the document such as a higher level of ambition when it comes to climate targets, the centring of climate justice and Just Transition, and greater legal accountability within the Bill.

Formal complaint launched 

Meanwhile, Safety Before LNG has lodged a formal complaint today to the Climate Committee on Climate Action regarding a potential conflict of interest from Chairman Brian Leddin TD.

Their complaint alleges that there may be a “serious perceived conflict of interest” by Deputy Leddin as he oversaw fracked gas amendments being ruled “out of order” in Committee Stage and has previously worked at ARUP, the company which has now lodged a new application for the Shannon LNG fracked gas import terminal. 

He has openly disclosed his former employment at ARUP on his LinkedIn profile.

Deputy Leddin had not yet responded to The Green News request for comment at the time of publication, but told The Irish Independent that any suggestion of a conflict of interest is “frankly ridiculous” due to the fact he was not aware that ARUP was working on the project until after he had left the company. 

The Government recently issued its policy statement on Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) imports and committed to a moratorium on the development of fracked gas importation pending a completed energy security review. 

A legal ban on importation was not currently possible due to existing European energy laws, according to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. 

Fracked gas is extracted by injecting sand, pressurised water and various chemicals into shale rock. Numerous studies have linked it to health issues, earth tremours and substantial carbon and methane emissions. 

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Kayle Crosson

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