Photo credit: Green Party (CC BY-ND 2.0 https://bit.ly/3RqWDR0)

Ryan: The public can sue ministers over missed climate targets

Climate Minister Eamon Ryan has outlined a new plan which he says will allow the general public to sue Ministers if they miss their climate targets.

The comments were made in an interview with the Independent.ie over the weekend amid the ongoing COP27 climate conference in Egypt.

The Green Party leader said that he planned to publish a revised Climate Action Plan 2023, that he says will be the first government climate plan to be “presented with the strength of the law behind it, in the sense that you have to deliver. And if you’re not delivering, as minister you have to adjust.”

He reportedly went on to add that any citizen or group would be able to take ministers to court if politicians fail to meet the legally-binding climate targets.

“We would see citizens taking action,” said Ryan, adding “The law says that already — we’ve a very strong law.”

Ireland’s controversial Climate Action Act, signed into law in 2021 and spearheaded by Ryan, has put Ireland on a legally-binding path to a 51% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, and net zero by no later than 2050. Under the act, each minister is responsible for their own sectoral targets.

This policy has led to highly contentious decisions, such as the agreed 25% emissions reduction target proposed for the agriculture sector – a cut which many farmers and rural independent TDs argued would be unsustainable for many rural businesses.

However, last week Gript interviewed climate campaigning groups such as Animal Rebellion at a protest in Dublin, in which some protesters said that the targets for farming should be even higher.

“I’m worried that the sectoral emissions targets that we’ve set aren’t high enough,” said one Animal Rebellion activist who said she was from Ohio in the United States.

“We’re not going to make those targets. There was a lot of debate about whether the target for agriculture was high enough in terms of emissions reduction.”

When it was put to her that many farmers were already saying that the emissions targets we currently have could be devastating to their business, she replied that the Green movement was not opposed to farmers, and proposed alternative business models for them.

“We want to see them supported. Maybe farmers could be paid just to let their land go free – to re-wild their land. ‘Ecosystem services’ is what they call it.”

 

 

 

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