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News : Innovation Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010 - 5:28 PM

Greens about to orbit from Planet Bertie launch Irish Climate Change Bill to save Planet Earth
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
Dec 23, 2010 - 5:09 PM

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View of rising Earth about five degrees above the Lunar horizon, taken on December 22, 1968 - - This is one of the more famous images of the Earth from the Apollo program, taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts as they became the first humans to circumnavigate the Moon.

The rising Earth is about five degrees above the lunar horizon in this telephoto view taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft near 110 degrees east longitude. The horizon, about 570 kilometers (250 statute miles) from the spacecraft, is near the eastern limb of the Moon as viewed from the Earth.

On the earth, the sunset terminator crosses Africa. The south pole is in the white area near the left end of the terminator. North and South America are under the clouds. The lunar surface probably has less pronounced colour than indicated by this print. Photo: NASA - US National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The green Greens who landed on the infamous Planet Bertie in 2007 to save Planet Earth, today published the Irish Climate Change Bill 2010, as their 'legacy' before disappearing into the ether.

A statement from the Government today said: "John Gormley, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, and Mr Ciaran Cuffe, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Environment with responsibility for Climate Change, today published the Climate Change Response Bill 2010. The Bill, which has been in preparation for the past eighteen months, is a legislative priority for the Government and Ministers Gormley and Cuffe will be seeking to progress it through the Houses of the Oireachtas immediately, with a view to enactment in February 2011."

Given the grim legacy of the Faustian Bargain between the Green Party and Fianna Fáil, the foregoing could be considered a festive joke to cheer up the citizenry in these grim times but if the hapless pair are not into irony, maybe we should take at face value that it did take a slow-motion 'eighteen months' to get the Bill cobbled together and it has become a 'legislative priority' even though the Greens had in early December called for the Dáil to be dissolved in January.

Finfacts said in July 2007 that based on John Gormley's own words, he was possibly the greatest hypocrite in Irish politics having orbited onto the den of iniquity, after he publicly ached to sign a Faustian Bargain. He had poured scorn on the crony capitalists earlier that year: "On Planet Bertie you can sign blank cheques because everyone does it, apparently. On Planet Bertie you can spend the average industrial wage on make-up. On Planet Bertie you can get loans from people that you don't have to pay back. On Planet Bertie you can save €50,000, without a bank account. And on Planet Bertie, climate change doesn't exist. All that stuff is made up by Trevor Sargent.

On Planet Bertie there's a strange cult called Fianna Fáil, a type of religion without vision or values; and every year in August they go on their annual pilgrimage to one of their sacred sites, the tent at the Galway races, where they pay homage to their gods and the gods bestow them with gifts for doing their bidding."  

The Sunday Tribune reported in Oct 2009 that Minister Gormley took a ferry to Holyhead in an attempt to appear environmentally friendly - - but had a Mercedes travel five hours and 300 miles from London to collect him. The car cost the taxpayer £2,200. After a climate change event, Gormley flew home.

Gormley who lives in Ringsend, South Dublin, claimed 'pocket money' as a TD for expenses incurred during the normal workday, such as lunch, coffee etc and travel on his bicycle. He said last August that there was nothing unusual about him working on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve in Leinster House. He is reported to have claimed “turning-up” expenses for both dates in 1997. One can assume that the diligent deputy on Christmas Eve, had to take a break from shopping at the nearby Grafton Street, to sign-on for his pocket money.

Key points of the Climate Change Bill include:

  • 'ambitious but realistic' national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2020, 2030 and 2050

  • a new national planning process encompassing both mitigation and adaptation

  • a new annual process on reporting to the Oireachtas

  • a new Expert Advisory Body to advise Government on policy and implementation

What would Irish governance be without the expert groups and taskforces?

Friends of the Earth have hailed the publication today of the Bill as "a landmark in Irish climate policy".

Commenting, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, said:"The publication of the Government Bill is a real landmark in Irish climate policy. This is a great day for our supporters who have worked so hard over the last 4 years, and for everyone who wants to see Ireland play its full part in the fight against climate change."

Whatever delusions Gormley and Cuffe may have about their record of 'achievements,' this will not enhance the laundry-list of what only the fatuous would term 'accomplishments.'

The European Union will determine climate change policy.

IBEC, the business lobby group, said today that proposals contained in the Bill will be hugely damaging to Ireland's economic competitiveness unless they are revised. The group said that, despite having had twelve months to draft the legislation, Government failed to consult with business and other stakeholders about the measures in the Bill, which shows little clarity on how Ireland's policy should dovetail with existing EU policy on climate change action.

Reacting to the publication of the Bill, IBEC’s head of energy and environment policy, Dr Neil Walker said: "National legislation should provide a transparent framework for effective action on climate change with goals that are achievable, efficient and fair. However, we have major concerns about the provisions of this Bill, which have the potential to inflict serious damage on our economy without actually achieving the intended reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

"In particular, the proposed greenhouse gas targets from 2020 onwards are so stringent that they imply a far higher compliance cost in Ireland than any other EU Member State. Ireland already has a carbon emission reduction obligation for 2020 that is double the EU average. However, this Bill would impose an additional spend of at least €400 million per annum on abatement.”

Walker continued: "The Bill may also introduce double-regulation for Irish installations already subject to the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. This could well deter future investment in the manufacturing industries that are key to creating jobs and leading our economic recovery. The Government is signalling much higher environmental penalties than anywhere else in Western Europe.”

In the longer term, the target for 2050 is greater than our total abatement potential. Dr Walker said: "An emissions reduction of 80% across our economy would require us to make huge cuts in the size of our beef and dairy herds. Crucially, this would not actually deliver any global carbon savings as the demand would simply be met by farmers in other exporting countries."

Walker called for a more evidence-based approach to climate policy-making, and suggested that a full and meaningful public consultation on the proposals is now vital. "Climate change is a long term global problem that will not be solved by Ireland going it alone. Despite having had twelve months to prepare this legislation, the Minister has failed to adequately engage stakeholders and take proper account of relevant research and modelling that has been conducted by state agencies such as SEAI, the EPA and Teagasc."

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