Ireland could become the latest country to pass binding climate change legislation after the government officially published its Climate Change Response Bill yesterday.
The Green Party, which last month triggered an early election in the wake of the country’s €6bn EU bailout package by announcing that it would leave the coalition government that it has formed with the ruling Fianna Fail party, agreed to delay the planned election by a month in order to try to pass the Bill.
The legislation will now be open to consultation for a month with a view to its passing through parliament by early February, allowing for an early March election.
The Bill, which is loosely modeled on the UK climate change bill, would set a binding target requiring the government to reduce emissions by an average of 2.5 per cent a year up to 2020 and by 40 per cent against 1990 levels by 2030.
It would also require the government to report annually on its progress, produce national action plans for cutting emissions and adapting to climate change, and set up a new independent climate change body to provide advice to ministers.
Green Party minister Ciarán Cuffe told reporters that it was “achievable, possible and realistic” to pass the legislation before the election.
“The legislation associated with the Budget will take three weeks and I believe there is space in that timeframe to progress the Dublin mayor and climate bills, and get them through,” he told The Irish Times.
However, Ibec, the main Irish business lobby group, has warned that the targets contained in the Bill are too ambitious and would further damage the country’s battered economy.