The Climate Change Response Bill 2010: An Assessment
Climate change is an important problem. It would be desirable to have legislation that would put Ireland on a low-cost and equitable trajectory to a zero-carbon economy. The draft Climate Change Response Bill 2010 will not achieve that. The exact emission reduction targets for 2020 are ambiguous, but considerably more ambitious than Ireland's obligations under EU legislation. EU legislation severely constrains the options for domestic climate policy so that the extra emission reduction would fall almost exclusively on agriculture, households, small and medium enterprises, and transport. The target in the draft bill for 2020 would require draconian policies. It would be better to keep the EU targets for 2020. The targets for 2030 and 2050 would require a further sharpening of climate policy. It would be better to base climate policy on predictably rising carbon prices. The draft bill fails to create a framework that would ensure that policy interventions are effective, as cheap as possible, and fair. Current policy meets none of these criteria. The Regulatory Impact Analysis is a collection of qualitative assertions that shed little light on the impact of the draft bill. The proposed National Climate Change Expert Advisory Body would need to acquire the appropriate expertise and be truly independent to fulfil its envisaged role.
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