Climate Bill’s Trojan Horse

I’m a bit concerned about the latest list of amendments to Irelands climate Bill. It includes some definitions and commitment to climate justice, sustainable development, just transition and more, that should have been there all along.

But are they just a diversion from the governments own amendments? Including some last minute amendments in a last minute rush to a Seanad hearing on the day a local by-election had the attention of the media and politics.

Some examples of last minute additions:

Smack bang in the middle of what the Climate Change Advisory Council is to do the bill gives power to the government. This is not good at all. This is politics being given a free pass to get in the way of science.


In page 14, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

(5A) (a) The Government shall make regulations for determining the greenhouse gas emissions to be taken into account, and the manner of calculating and accounting for such emissions (including any reductions), for the purpose of—

(i) the first 2 carbon budgets referred to in subsection (5), and (ii) every carbon budget thereafter.

(b) The Government shall, when making regulations under paragraph (a), have regard to the rules applied by the European Union in relation to the matters referred to in paragraph (a).

(5B) The Government may make regulations to specify the base year in relation to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for budget periods after 31 December 2030.”.

and then the bill legislates that the CCAC must comply with this latest amendment…..

*26. In page 15, between lines 8 and 9, to insert the following:

“(c) the Advisory Council shall comply with regulations under subsection (5A) when carrying out its functions under this section.

(10) (a) The Minister shall, when preparing a carbon budget and a sectoral emissions ceiling, recommend to Government to decide that a Minister of the Government may comply with the carbon budget, and a sectoral emissions ceiling for which that Minister of the Government has responsibility, by the removal of greenhouse gas emissions.

(b) Where the Government approves the recommendation of the Minister under paragraph (a), the Minister of the Government concerned shall, when complying with the carbon budget and the sectoral emission ceiling for which that Minister of the Government has responsibility, comply with regulations made by the Government under subsection (11).

(11) (a) The Government shall make regulations for the purpose of—

(i) determining how the removal of greenhouse gas emissions may be taken into account, and in particular the method of calculating and accounting for such removals, including the base year to be applied to such removals, when complying with a carbon budget and a sectoral emissions ceiling,

(ii) specifying which removals may be used for the purposes referred to in subparagraph (i), and

(iii) determining the mechanism by which such removals are to be effected.

(b) When making regulations under paragraph (a) the Government shall have regard to the rules applied by the European Union in respect of the matters specified in subparagraphs (i) to (iii) of paragraph (a).”.

Original draft bill
https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/bill/2021/39/eng/ver_a/b39a21d.pdf

Amendments
https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/bill/2021/39/seanad/4/amendment/numberedList/eng/b39a21d-srnl.pdf

The Seanad debate July 9th 2021 where amendments were decided upon https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/seanad/2021-07-09/8/

Also introduced is the “have regard to” clause. As in have regard to Paris Commitments, EU and international obligations.

The government’s amendments that in effect will allow politicians control how the scientists operate are nicely slotted in, last minute, amongst the amendments proposed by others. Unfortunately the other amendments never made it. That is some trojan horse. Attacking science and future generations with one blow.

Theresa ODonohoe

July 10th 2021

Additional feedback.

From Green News: “Recent amendments have “gutted” Climate Bill” https://t.co/Rs1JS5wHEY?amp=1

Tweets from Conor O’Neill https://twitter.com/conoraon/status/1414565662203207685?s=19

Tweets from Paul Price https://twitter.com/swimsure/status/1414524128288296967?s=19

Published by Theresa OD

Change maker and mother of 5 living in the west of Ireland

2 thoughts on “Climate Bill’s Trojan Horse

  1. Thanks for your work with this Theresa and I am in admiration that you sit and grapple with such incomprehensible language – surely stacking the odds against the rest of us making any sense of it at all, you and people like you are unrecognised , unrewarded heroes .

    1. Thanks Marella. I am one of a great team of people who decipher and it’s well translated before it gets to me. Legislation is head wrecking 🙂

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