Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport Darren O’Rourke TD today welcomed the introduction of the new Climate Bill and said fairness must be at the heart of the state’s climate action approach.
The Meath East TD said:
“Sinn Féin welcome the introduction of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the Dáil today.
“While the original Bill has been improved as a result of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, there is room for further improvement, and we will work with others over the course of the upcoming deliberations to strengthen it further.
“This is a landmark piece of legislation, which will outlive any one administration, so it is important we get it right at this stage.
“For Sinn Féin, social justice must be at the centre of our approach to tackling climate change.
“We cannot allow for the most vulnerable to bear the cost, especially since the poorest in our society are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the least responsible.
“Government action to date has not been fair and equitable when it comes to reducing our overall emissions.
“Ordinary people have been an easy target for the Government, and they have been hit again and again, while major corporations and vested interests have shirked their responsibility, enabled by light touch regulation.
“This approach must change if we are to meet our increased emissions and renewable targets.
“Climate Action can be a huge opportunity for our society if it is combined with climate justice. If it is not, we are doomed to fail.
“A just transition must also protect workers. As we wind down our fossil-fuel-powered power plants, government intervention and financial support is vital to ensure workers are supported with new training and opportunities.
“Public consultation, that is more than a box-ticking exercise, will be crucial, while significant investment in our public transport network is needed to catch up on the decades of neglect in this area.
“This Bill is only the first step, and we look forward to bringing forward proposals that will help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, increase our renewable energy output and make our society a fairer and more equitable place at the same time.”