Climate change legislation to be passed before general election

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told a high-level UN climate summit that new legislation to be passed before the upcoming general election will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland.

Speaking at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21), Mr Kenny said the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 sets out Ireland’s intention to “substantially cut CO2 emissions by 2050, while developing an approach towards carbon neutrality in the land sector that does not compromise our capacity for food production”.

The climate bill sets out plans in four areas – agriculture, energy, buildings and transport – and provides statutory underpinning for the development of a National Mitigation Plan to achieve national climate change targets.

Its provisions also include the establishment of a National Expert Advisory Council on Climate Change.

The legislation has already been approved by Dáil Éireann and is now subject to amendment by the Seanad.

However, the Taoiseach has faced criticism from Friends of the Earth Ireland, which said he offered “fudge and dodge rather than firm action to make those aspirations a reality”.

It also criticised the Government for coming to the close of its five-year term without producing a national action plan to meet climate change targets in 2020.

Oisin Coghlan, director of FOE Ireland, added: “Ironically, the Climate Bill that will be passed into law on Thursday will make it illegal for the next Government to be so delinquent.”

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