Senior academics have warned that “bad law and bad science” contained in the Climate Bill could allow emissions to rise for several years or allow the government to delay making the steepest emissions reductions until the end of the decade. In a letter to the taoiseach, tanaiste and environment minister last week, the academics said the bill could nullify the commitment in the programme for government to cut emissions by 7 per cent a year on average over the next decade, as recommended by the UN Environment Programme. The letter was signed by Barry McMullin, professor of sustainable energy systems at Dublin City University, John Sweeney, a climate scientist who has contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Andrew Jackson, assistant professor in law at UCD. The Climate Bill passed committee stage in the Oireachtas last week after the government refused to accept any opposition amendments. It sets a target to reduce emissions by 51 per cent by 2030, relative to 2018 levels. The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) will propose five-year carbon budgets, which will be adopted by government and implemented for each sector by the relevant minister. The first two carbon budgets must achieve the 2030 target. However, unlike similar legislation in Britain and Scotland, the bill does not specify a trajectory for emissions reductions. That means that the government could push the steepest emissions reductions to the end of the second carbon budget — and to the next government — once there is a sufficient reduction in 2030 to comply with the headline goal.
Times 15th June 2021 read more »