Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.07 9 May 2019


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The Dáil has backed calls for a climate and biodiversity emergency to be declared.

A motion passed this evening supporting the proposal, as well as endorsing the report of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action.

The Dáil is the second parliament to back such a motion - following a similar motion in the House of Commons earlier this month.

While this evening's Dáil motion was not opposed by the Government, it does not have legal standing.

However, it represents a significant statement from TDs.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he's glad the Dáil has supported the calls for an emergency.

He observed: “Our Parliament is the second national parliament to pass such a motion but it will be of little meaning unless we are now willing to act on the recommendations of the Committee and of the Citizens Assembly.

“Ireland has become a climate laggard in the last eight years but there is no reason we could not turn that around and become leaders.

"We need to change our entire food, energy, transport and industrial systems in the next two decades and deliver a just transition through a Green New Deal."

The party's deputy leader Catherine Martin said the Government now has to take 'concrete steps' to change course on climate.

Addressing the Dáil, Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said he hopes this is the start of an important process.

He suggested politicians will have to find a way to work through their 'ideological differences' to achieve change.

In March, the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action issued its cross-party report on tackling climate change.

The committee was established to consider the third report and recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly.

Committee members reached agreement on a number of key climate issues, including recommending a series of carbon tax rises over the coming decade.

The report emphasised electrifying, improving and extending public transport, as well as making it cheaper to use.

It also stressed that it's important climate action is fair - noting that 'vulnerable citizens, workers and communities' must be protected.

It also states that the State should aim for a 70% renewable energy target by 2030.

Main image: File photo of Extinction Rebellion Ireland climate protest in Dublin. Photo: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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