Greens foiled on carbon 'security clause'
Published 29/12/2010 | 05:00
Green Party attempts to allow ministers to be taken to court for failing to reduce carbon emissions were shot down by the Government's legal adviser.
The Greens essentially don't trust a future government to match up to the greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Environment Minister John Gormley is understood to have tried to have a clause inserted in the newly published Climate Change Bill to force future ministers to meet the emissions goals.
But Attorney General Paul Gallagher dismissed the suggestion as it could leave a future government open to all sorts of court challenges. The AG's argument that it would not make legal sense to pass such an open law was accepted by the Cabinet.
"They wanted the bill left wide open. If a minister doesn't do something, he will be open to challenge. The AG said: 'No.' It's an issue from a legal point of view on how you leave a bill. You are expected to anticipate all reasonable outcomes. Nobody will browbeat Paul Gallagher," a coalition source said.
The Climate Change Bill was published by Green junior minister Ciaran Cuffe last week and the junior coalition partners expect it to be passed by the end of January.
The legislation is designed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being produced by burning fossil fuels.
It requires deep cuts to be made in carbon emissions to meet legally-binding EU targets and move the country to a low-carbon economy and prevent dangerous climate change.
Emissions will have to fall by 2.5pc a year, or by 1.6 million tonnes.
Environmental groups welcome the bill but business groups say it will damage the economy.
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan told the Irish Independent the public would view climate change differently when they saw it enshrined in legislation.