March 28th, 2019
The Dáil voted this afternoon to allow a proposed Bill to limit future oil and gas exploration to move forward in the legislative process.
The Climate Emergency Measures Bill raised by People Before Profit will now proceed to select committee stage.
The Bill seeks to amend the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act to limit the issuing of new licenses for the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels.
Over 40 licenses currently exist
for a range of fossil fuels, with some having contracts up to the late 2020s.
If put into effect the Climate
Emergency Bill would make Ireland one of a handful of country’s to essentially ban
oil and gas exploration.
A motion raised by People Before Profit calling for the passage of the Bill directly to select committee stage was debated in the Dáil on Tuesday evening, and a protest in support of the Bill also took place outside the Dáil that same evening.
The Bill had passed Second Stage
in the Dáil last February despite Government opposition. It then moved forward
to be scrutinized by the Joint Committee on Climate Action and Environment in
December, where a split vote to adopt a committee report
stalled the Bill itself.
“I’m delighted that the attempt
by the government to wreck this bill has failed and we can now move closer to
making Ireland part of a global movement to ban fossil fuel exploration,”
People Before Profit TD Brid Smith said following the vote on her Bill.
Ms Smith said that the Government’s
opposition to the Bill highlighted a “two-faced approach” to the pressing issue
of climate change.
“On one hand, the Taoiseach and
Ministers say they accept the science and that we need radical action, then they
support continued exploration for fossil fuels that we cannot use if we hope to
limit temperature rises. It’s insane,” Ms Smith added.
The progression of the bill comes
on the heels of yesterday evening’s vote from the
Climate Action Committee to accept almost 40 key policy recommendations to be
included in its impending report.
The report follows six months of scrutiny by Committee members and builds a wish list outlined by the Citizens’ Assembly on how the State can lead on climate action.