Climate Case Ireland welcomes cross-party report that recommends Minister Eamon Ryan “preserve the effect of the Supreme Court in Climate Case Ireland.”
Posted on: 18-12-2020
Climate Case Ireland, who earlier this year won a historic Supreme Court case against the Irish Government for failing to take adequate action on climate change, has welcomed the publication of the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action’s (JOCCA) on Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020 (the Climate Bill).
The publication of the Report follows weeks of intense cross-party scrutiny of the new Climate Bill, which will amend Ireland’s 2015 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act.
Multiple national and international organisations endorsed Climate Case Ireland’s recommendations for the Climate Bill in an Open Letter, and over 2,000 members of the public signed its petition. Climate Case Ireland say it is essential that the next draft of the Climate Bill must build-in climate justice and a just transition as the Bill’s central organizing principles and must commit to remaining within Ireland’s fair share of the global emissions budget for 1.5C.
The highly anticipated Report includes many of Climate Case Ireland’s recommendations, including a 2030 target, a ban on the importation of fracked gas and the construction of LNG terminals, and the need to address full lifecycle and non-territorial emissions. The Report further recommends, in accordance with Climate Case Ireland’s suggestions, that public bodies should be required to carry out their duties in a manner consistent with the temperature limits of the Paris Agreement and that the Bill should include a ‘ratchet’ mechanism allowing the Minister flexibility to make climate policy more progressive. While the Report acknowledges the need to address emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors and recommends that the EPA should begin monitoring and reporting on these emissions, Climate Case Ireland remains strongly of the view that aviation and shipping should be fully integrated into the Bill and included within Ireland’s targets, plans and carbon budgets.
The Report provides an unprecedented mandate for the Government to create a much strengthened second draft of its Climate Bill. However, Climate Case Ireland says the Government must go significantly further if it is to create legislation that fully aligns with science and climate justice.
For instance, the JOCCA’s recommendation to “pursue and achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest” is wholly inadequate from a climate justice perspective. Clodagh Daly, Campaign Coordinator of Climate Case Ireland, remarked:
“A goal of climate neutrality by 2050 “at the latest” is nowhere close to the scale or pace of action required to meaningfully respond to the climate and biodiversity crisis. There is no time left for business as usual, and it is a shame that this view was not shared by the majority on the Committee. Complete decarbonisation by 2030 is the only science and climate justice aligned proposal on the table.”
Nevertheless, the JOCCA’s recommendation that the Climate Change Advisory Council should review the adequacy of the National Climate Objective is a very positive development. Significantly, the Report also calls for the inclusion of a 2030 interim target. Dr. Andrew Jackson of UCD Sutherland School of Law noted that:
“A 2030 target is essential, but ultimately science and climate justice are the barometers against which we must measure progress. A reduction of 51% by 2030 is not nearly enough – and what’s more, it’s not comparable with the reductions we’re hearing about elsewhere.
“The government proposes using 2018 as the baseline year for its reduction, although 1990 is consistently used within international reporting at EU level and under the UNFCCC. As Ireland’s emissions were higher in 2018 than they were in 1990, the planned reduction works out at 45% on 1990 levels – not 51%. Earlier this month the EU agreed its new target of a 55% reduction by 2030 on 1990 levels. So while the government’s 2030 target may sound very ambitious – and it is certainly challenging given we have allowed emissions to rise so much in recent years – the government is planning to do much less than the EU average when we compare like-with-like using the 1990 baseline.”
In a very welcome development, the Report contains Climate Case Ireland’s recommendation to include reparations in building meaningful climate justice obligations into the Bill. Clodagh Daly, Campaign Coordinator of Climate Case Ireland, noted that:
“We are thrilled to see our call for reparations reflected within JOCCA’s report. Ireland has knowingly contributed disproportionately to the climate crisis, while countries least responsible suffer its most severe impacts. We must now take responsibility for our role in what leading climate scientist, Prof. Kevin Anderson, terms ‘climate colonialism.’ Moreover, reparations are absolutely critical to our collective capacity to remaining below a 1.5C increase in global temperature.”
Although Climate Case Ireland welcome the Report’s recommendation to include a definition for Just Transition, it says the Government must go further in redrafting the Bill. Clodagh Daly continued:
“A Just Transition should not be considered a supplementary objective that the government should merely ‘have regard to.’ A Just Transition is as feasible as it is essential. As a critical component to achieving a completely decarbonised society, we call upon the government to uphold a Just Transition as a central organizing principle of its redrafted Climate Bill.”
Finally, Climate Case Ireland welcome JOCCA’s call to preserve the impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Climate Case Ireland. Dr. Andrew Jackson concluded:
“Friends of the Irish Environment’s victory in Climate Case Ireland was hard won over many years and the Supreme Court’s judgment in July was lauded internationally as a beacon of hope and accountability. We trust the government will now implement JOCCA’s recommendation to preserve the impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Climate Case Ireland, and more generally focus on creating a robust legal framework that will lead to substantial reductions in emissions fast.”
Contact: Clodagh Daly: 086-155-5581 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Case Ireland
On 31st July 2020, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) won their historic legal challenge, known as ‘Climate Case Ireland,’ against the Irish Government. The landmark Supreme Court judgment held that the Government’s National Mitigation Plan, the main plank of its climate change policy, failed to specify the manner in which it is proposed to achieve the ‘national transition objective’, as required by Ireland’s 2015 Climate Act. This means that the Government failed to specify how it planned for Ireland to transition to “a low carbon climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by the end of 2050.” The Climate Case Ireland campaign continues to hold the Irish Government accountable to its legal obligations on climate change, based on science and climate justice.
Friends of the Irish Environment
Established in 1997, FIE is non-profit Company Limited by Guarantee and a Charity registered in Ireland. It is a member of the European Environmental Bureau and the Irish Environmental Network. Registered Office: Kilcatherine, Eyeries, Co Cork, Ireland. P75 CX53 Company No.326985. Charities Registration No. 20154530. Tel & Fax: 353 (0)27 74771. Email: email@example.com
For more information on Climate Case Ireland, see www.climatecaseireland.ie
 Complete decarbonisation by 2030 means zero energy emissions, combined with natural solutions to sequester carbon from sectors where some emissions will remain inevitable.