Denis Naughten TD has confirmed that he will not oppose the passage of the new climate law in Dáil Éireann tonight, despite maintaining it contains a number of flaws. Instead he will introduce a piece of amending legislation in the autumn that will require Dáil approval of sectoral emission targets and include separate treatment for biogenic methane coming from agriculture, in line with the advice of the Climate Change Advisory Council.
“I have consistently said throughout the passage of this legislation that I do not want to undermine the overall objective behind the Climate Bill and that is why I will support its final passage tonight. However, I will address the weaknesses that I see in this law with the publication of a piece of amending legislation later this year,” says Denis Naughten TD.
“I have received assurances from Minister Ryan during the detailed debate on my issues of concern during Committee Stage of the Bill, and I accept that in both instances it is not the intention of Government to see the new law being used in the manner that I have highlighted.
“My concerns focused around two aspects namely:
- Biogenic methane, produced from agriculture, should be accounted for separately due to its distinct characteristics as part of the overall carbon cycle, as recommended by the Climate Change Advisory Council. This is to ensure there is not a perverse incentive to other government Departments to do little and force farmers to foot the climate bill.
- That the sectoral emission targets would have to be presented and approved by the Dáil just like a financial budget or the National Planning Framework. This would ensure the Minister of the day would have to present the full implications of their proposals across the economy and outline the potentially far reaching implications for individuals, families and communities nationwide.
“I want a law that brings about real climate action by encouraging people along the climate journey in a constructive and positive way with the aim of achieving the goal that we all want, which is a long-term sustainable planet for our children and for their children.
“I have clearly set out my concerns with regard to this law during the detailed Committee debate which, at its core, is about providing democratic oversight to fair, balanced and achievable targets for each sector of society.
“While my concerns have not been taken on board in the manner that I sought, I do accept that Minister Ryan has acknowledged these issues and he has also made it clear to the Committee that he is open to revisions to the law.
“So, despite my reservations, I am taking a responsible approach to what is an important piece of legislation for our planet and our environment and will support its passage through Dáil Éireann tonight,” concluded Denis Naughten.