Green laws would make Taoiseach tackle global warming

Taoiseach Brian Cowen would be directly responsible for cutting Ireland’s greenhouse gases, under draft laws published today.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen would be directly responsible for cutting Ireland’s greenhouse gases, under draft laws published today.

A special Oireachtas committee drew up the legislation which would shift the onus for tackling global warming on to the Taoiseach.

Labour’s Liz McManus, who helped hammer out the proposals, said the move was necessary to ensure urgently-needed action across the board.

“One of the obstacles that we have encountered is the lack of inter-departmental cooperation (on climate change),” she said.

“The proposal that the Taoiseach become accountable for climate change targets is designed to ensure a cross-departmental approach and a dynamic for change.”

Ms McManus said Mr Cowen and his successors would then be answerable to the Dáil on what progress Ireland was making to slash its carbon emissions.

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security called for a climate change law ahead of a major UN environmental summit in Copenhagen in December.

The move would get around delays caused to long-term plans to cut gases caused by the government changing every five years, it argued.

“Unless and until government, State bodies, businesses, farmers, employees and householders operate and live within a legal framework, including binding climate change targets, changes in personal and corporate behaviour that are critical if greenhouse gas emissions reductions are to become a reality will not happen at the pace required,” said Ms McManus.

More in this section