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The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD has released outline Heads of a Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill 2013 for consideration by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht, and stakeholders. 

The Minister also released the final climate policy analysis report from the Secretariat to the National Economic and Social Council entitled ‘Ireland and the Climate Change Challenge: Connecting ‘How Much’ with ‘How To’, which articulates a “carbon neutral” vision for Ireland by 2050.

In 2012, the Government published a two-year programme which laid out a framework under which the Government would deliver more on addressing climate change.

Releasing the outline Heads, Minister Hogan said that the planned Bill would be a first step in enacting “a critically important piece of national legislation in terms of the environmental and economic sustainability of our long-term future. The outline Heads reflect a strongly progressive approach, particularly Heads 4 and 5 which places a statutory obligation on Government to adopt and implement plans that enable the State to transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy in the period to 2050.  A fundamental requirement to be taken into account in the plans to be prepared on foot of Heads 4 and 5, is the need for such plans to provide a basis for achieving Ireland’s binding mitigation targets and obligations at EU and international levels”.

On the issue of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, Minister Hogan said “Ireland already has a challenging greenhouse gas mitigation target for 2020, which is binding under EU law. Compliance with that target is not an option; it is absolutely paramount and any ambition we set at a national level must, and will, respect compliance with this fundamental mitigation commitment and future increases in ambition.” 

Minister Hogan said that a key objective for him in initiating the policy and legislation development process was “to ensure that we maintain our place among the progressive Member States within the EU and progressive Parties under the UN Convention on climate change”.

In accordance with the policy development Programme, the outline Heads of the Bill and the final climate policy analysis report from the NESC Secretariat have been sent today to the Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee. 

It is expected that the Joint Committee will consider the outline Heads in conjunction with the interim and final climate policy analysis from the NESC Secretariat, consulting with stakeholders and submit a report to Government by mid 2013.