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3 February 2013 Edition

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Friends of the Earth back Sinn Féin Climate Change Bill

• Brian Stanley, Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson

“Unfortunately, this government has continued to hide away from its commitment to addressing climate change. The Government has continued to duck and dive from their responsibility to respond to one of the most challenging issues facing this and future generations.

TWO YEARS of inaction by the Irish Government has led to Sinn Féin reintroducing the all-party Climate Change Bill of 2010.

Friends of the Earth have welcomed this step by Sinn Féin.

Fine Gael and the Labour Party were very clear in their Programme for Government in promising “a Climate Change Bill that will provide certainty surrounding Government policy and provide a clear pathway for emissions reduction in line with negotiated EU 2020 reductions”.

Nothing has happened.

Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Brian Stanley says:

“Unfortunately, this government has continued to hide away from its commitment to addressing climate change. The Government has continued to duck and dive from their responsibility to respond to one of the most challenging issues facing this and future generations.

When Brian Stanley quizzed Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil about the Climate Change Bill, the Taoiseach replied that the Government would be introducing a ‘Low Carbon Bill’ first.

“No such Bill exists,” Brian Stanley says. “The Climate Change Bill is the tool to tackle carbon emissions.”

The Sinn Féin Bill is a redraft of one produced by the Climate Change Sub-committee in 2010. It has legally-binding, five-year carbon budgets and will establish an independent expert authority to oversee progress.

“This Bill was supported by the then Fine Gael spokesperson on Environment Phil Hogan as well as Dinny McGinley and Simon Coveney,” Brian Stanley points out. “There is no reason why the Government parties cannot now support this Bill.”

Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, says:

“This Bill has all the key elements of effective climate legislation. It has targets, carbon budgets and an independent, expert climate change commission. We are expecting a Government Climate Bill in the next few weeks and here we have a good yardstick against which we can all measure the coming Government legislation.”

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