News & Media

New Climate Law is a pre-election PR effort

6 January 2020

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Labour Climate spokesperson Seán Sherlock TD has criticised the latest Government PR effort on climate as failing to provide real powers to the re-jigged Climate Council, or take the strong action needed to reduce our emissions.

Proposal to ban sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030 is unrealistic without greater supports

Action Plan and poverty proofing needed to support low income households

Deputy Sherlock said:

“The latest climate announcement from the Government is another example of spin devoid of the real change needed to tackle the climate emergency. The Climate Plan published towards the end of year lacked detail or ambition, and today’s announcement is another instalment of the Minister’s PR strategy.

“The token proposal to ban the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2030 is unrealistic, and far ahead of what other, better prepared, countries are proposing. For example, the UK will ban sales from 2040 and is considering reducing that to 2035. Meanwhile, Ireland is far behind in the rollout of electric cars and infrastructure. There is still no sense of how the Government will support low income families who will not be able to afford new electric cars. What financial measures will be put in place for this?

“There is no legal commitment to carbon proof the annual budget, and instead we will have three, five-year carbon budgets. What we need to know is who will be held responsible for a failure to meet carbon budgets, and the scope of the financial penalties. Will private bodies be penalised or just the public sector?

“The changes to the Climate Change Advisory Council are cosmetic in nature, and the new powers lack strong enforcement powers but we await to see more detail on this. The Minister’s announcement does not make clear if the Government is committed to a net zero target by 2050 in the carbon budgets it will produce. This is a commitment at EU level.

“On retrofitting, we have yet to see the comprehensive action needed to support those who can least afford to upgrade their heating systems, and insulation. Instead of tackling the poor energy performance of our council housing stock and private rented accommodation, the supports remain targeted at those with most.”