Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan will consider points raised by climate experts on the wording of the Climate Bill "to see if any further clarity needs to be provided at committee stage", a spokeswoman for his department has confirmed.
Climate scientist Prof John Sweeney of Maynooth University, Prof Barry McMullin of Dublin City University and Dr Andrew Jackson of University College Dublin outlined their concerns about "a fundamental flaw" in the Bill in a letter to the three Coalition leaders.
Responding to their criticism of the Bill’s wording, the spokeswoman underlined the legislation published last month “significantly strengthens the framework for governance of climate action by the State to enable it realise national, EU and international climate goals and obligations”.
A commitment to achieve a climate neutral economy no later than 2050 was also put on a statutory footing in the revised Bill, she added. “To meet this objective, the Bill introduces a legal requirement for Government to adopt a series of economy-wide five-year carbon budgets, on a rolling 15-year basis.”
The legislation also provides for carbon budgets to be proposed by the Climate Change Advisory Council in a manner "consistent with a range of clauses, including the Paris Agreement and the programme for government commitment, of a 51 per cent reduction in the annual level of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 relative to their levels in 2018" – as reported by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Mr Ryan’s objective was to ensure the statutory framework for climate action was both ambitious and legally robust, and he welcomed engagement by scientific and legal experts in relation to the provisions of the Bill, she said.