Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Emissions Targets) Bill 2018: First Stage

I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 to specify emissions reduction targets to be achieved and to include these targets in the national mitigation plan and national adaptation framework.

The purpose of this Bill is to set in law targets for the reduction of carbon emissions up to 2050. This follows international precedents. For example, the UK's Climate Change Act 2008 sets specific targets for both 2050 and 2020. Despite our international commitments the Government's attitude towards climate change has been less than exemplary. Ireland is now unique in Europe in the scale of its failure to meet both emissions and renewable energy targets. Earlier this summer, the Climate Change Advisory Council outlined how Ireland will fail to meet both its 2020 and 2030 targets and will fail to decarbonise the Irish economy by 2050.

This is simply not good enough and without action we will face massive charges and changes to our climate. Met Éireann projects a 30% increase in heavy rain and storm events, a 1° centigrade to 1.6° centigrade increase in average temperature and a decrease of 50% in the number of frost days by 2050. Sitting on our hands and expecting others to do the heavy lifting for us is not good enough. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 contained no eventual or specific targets for Ireland's emissions reductions. Fianna Fáil heavily criticised this aspect of the legislation at the time of its introduction. These targets appeared in Ireland's first attempt to legislate for climate change, which was the Climate Change Response Bill 2010 brought forward by the Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition Government, yet this Government did not deem them worthy of inclusion in its legislation. We recognised that its legislation was a roadmap to nowhere and that it did not set clear metrics for the Government or its policy makers. Sadly, our fears have proven well founded.

This Bill seeks to address this issue and amends the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 to set specific targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These are: an 89% reduction by 2050 relative to 1990 levels; a 40% reduction by 2030 relative to 1990 levels; a 20% reduction by 2020 relative to 2005 levels. These targets are in line with Ireland's international commitments and are clear targets towards which the country should strive. They will hold the Government to account on its rhetoric and promises and ensure that Ireland plays its part in the battle to prevent further climate change.

Is the Bill opposed?

Question put and agreed to.

Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

Question put and agreed to.