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Sinn Féin MEP calls for a Climate Protection Bill

29 January, 2008 - by Martina Anderson MEP


Speaking at a debate hosted by the organisation 'People Against Climate Change' in the Cultivate Centre in Temple Bar Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun said, "climate change is not only the major political challenge of our time; it is also one of the greatest social, environmental and economic threats that society has experienced in recent history."

The Sinn Féin MEP continued:

"Binding domestic legislation which incorporates emission reduction targets can go some way to address the affects of climate change at home and throughout the world. Whilst last week's EU climate package will in part force the Irish government to deliver reductions it must be much more proactive in embracing necessary changes in environmental policy across a range of sectors.

"A Climate Protection Bill with annual appraisals that places the emphasis on action at local and national level would leave government with no option but to deliver long term sustainable environmental development that positions climate change as a priority policy concern.

"Decades of under investment in the country's public transport service have resulted in a culture of car dependency. Not linking investment in public services with GDP during a decade of unprecedented economic prosperity has been a missed opportunity; however it is not too late.

"Securing a dependable and sustainable energy supply is critical to any economy and society. In Ireland this means we must make the greatest possible use of our own resources such as solar, wind and tidal power and the development of energy saving, resource-efficient, renewable and low emission technologies.

"Energy saving through simple steps such as insulating older homes and commercial properties must also be addressed. The ban on incandescent light bulbs should be supported with those on low incomes being supported during the phasing out process. Awareness raising programmes and incentive initiatives for business are to be encouraged and built upon.

"Protecting our natural environment will also pay dividends in the fight to reduce our emissions. Planting trees protecting vital carbon sinks are just two examples. The use of bio fuels can also play a part through small scale sustainable production. Agriculture also has a part to play.

"Local authorities need to grab hold of this issue as Dublin City Council has done on Sinn Féin's initiative. Dublin has adopted a Climate Change Strategy with a focus on reduction, reuse and recycling. This type of local action needs to be replicated across Ireland. One of the best aspects of this Strategy in the capital is its coherence. Waste management, transport, planning, energy generation and biodiversity are linked within the strategy and not treated as individual phenomena.

"Sinn Féin looks forward to developing all-Ireland cross party support in addressing climate change throughout the island. After all, the effects of climate change have no borders." CRÍOCH

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