Citizens’ Assembly Issues Clarion Call For Government to Step Up Climate Action
Following four days of presentations and deliberation, the Citizens’ Assembly voted to make 13 recommendations for State action on climate change . The Stop Climate Chaos coalition described the the outcome as “a clarion call for the Government to immediately step up climate action.”
Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, commented: “These common-sense, practical recommendations for climate action will not get us from laggard to leader. But they will allow us to catch up with our European neighbours. If implemented by Government they will end nearly a decade of dithering and delay.”
Niamh Garvey, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Trócaire, said: “Climate change is here, it is now, and it is everywhere. It’s impacting most profoundly on those who have done least to cause it. For the communities that Trócaire works with, the impacts of climate change are already too much.”
Taken together, the 13 recommendations from the Citizens Assembly have the potential to ensure Ireland draws nearer to the European average for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The most striking recommendations to the Government from the Citizens’ Assembly include:
- Prioritise public transport investment over new road infrastructure spending at a ratio of no less than 2-to-1. Currently the majority of state investment goes to road building which means more cars and more emissions.
- The Citizens’ own willingness to pay higher taxes on carbon pollution and their recommendation that the agriculture sector should also apply the ‘polluter pays principle’ to its emissions, along with a further recommendation that the resulting revenue should be reinvested to support climate friendly agricultural practices.
- An end to State all subsidies for peat extraction on a phased basis over the next five years. That would bring peat-firing for electricity to an end a lot sooner than 2030, which is Bord Na Mona’s current plan.
An end to subsidies for peat extraction would cover not just the subsidies for burning peat for electricity but the subsidies for burning biomass with peat as well.
- Establishment of an independent watchdog with clear powers to make sure the State sets and meets five-yearly targets for emissions reductions. The introduction of such targets were removed from climate legislation by the government before it passed in 2015.