Here's a summary of the Bill (02.2015). A more detailed analysis is below.
The Climate Change Bill was brought before the Oireachtas recently. This is the Government’s long-awaited legislation to deal with climate change and is much bigger than any of the strategies we already have.
It is also very relevant. We rely on fossil fuels for 83% of our energy, transport and agriculture account for over 70% of our emissions,  and by 2030 our car fleet will grow by 200,000 and our population by 600,000.
We know that climate change is already costing us money, and that doing nothing will cost the economy more. So plans need to be put in place as soon as possible. In 2008, The EU agreed targets for 2020 that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (relative to 1990 levels), increase the use of renewable resources by 20%, and Improve the EU’s energy efficiency by 20%.
But when the agreement was reached, Chancellor Merkel said Germany already had tougher national targets, and Poland’s PM said the targets wouldn’t cost his country any more money. So Old Europe and New Europe’s largest economies felt the targets were manageable, which suggests they may be too low.
This Bill comes on the back of those EU targets and before new targets to 2030 are reached. The Bill’s aim is a low carbon economy, a reduction in CO2 emissions, and carbon-neutral agriculture.
It tries to achieve this by:
· Requiring a new emissions plan every 5 years
· Putting obligations on local authorities to reduce emissions
· Putting obligations on Ministers to reduce departmental emissions
· And establishing a council to advise the government on best practice.
So this sounds positive.
But An Taisce says the Bill “pretends bare compliance with our EU targets” and criticises the absence of medium-term targets. This absence of targets in the Bill is its main flaw. Without targets in domestic law, a government has more leeway and so might not reduce emissions: politics might override policy.
But the Bill is also weak on policy, which needs to stem from the costs of climate change. Good policy responds to changing circumstances. This would mean higher carbon taxes, adjusted VRT, and progressively more stringent and enforced building regulations.
So depending on your viewpoint, this Bill either: sets out a vision and framework, or sets up a bureaucracy with no goals. Advocates will say the vision will inform policy and the framework will ensure oversight. Critics will say the bureaucracy is too rigid and the goals are too vague.
What cannot be argued is that the only answer to climate change is to reduce emissions. And the only way to do that is to set clear targets. This Bill leaves that to the EU and affords leeway to governments. The Bill thus allows the state to be shackled whilst handing it the keys. Such an approach is entirely inappropriate for an issue as grave as climate change.
 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015
 Energy in Ireland 1990-2013, SEAI 2014, 26
 Review Of National Climate Policy November 2011, Department Of Environment, Community And Local Government, 8
 Phelan, Irish Independent, 14 August 2014
 €100m flood bill for early 2014 floods - RTE News, 8 February 2014
 EurActiv, 24 October 2014
 EurActiv, 24 October 2014
 Press Release, An Taisce, 23 January 2015
 REVIEW OF NATIONAL CLIMATE POLICY November 2011, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, 31
 Press Releases, National Academy of Sciences, 10 February 2015