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Irish Government to appear in court in landmark climate case
Monday December 11, 2017 21:28 by foie - Friends of Irish Environment
Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment - 10th Dec 2017
“All eyes will now be on what unfolds in Ireland.”
The Irish Government will appear in the High Court on Tuesday (12 December) in relation to its alleged failure to take the required action to avert dangerous climate change.
The legal challenge was brought at the end of October ex-parte (one side appearing only) by the environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE]. It alleges that the National Mitigation Plan—one of the main planks in the Government’s climate change policy—does not do enough to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a violation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, Ireland’s Climate Act, the Irish Constitution and human rights obligations.
The case is the first of its kind in the country.
Students and others supporting the case convened in Dublin last week to hear Dutch lawyer Dennis van Berkel, legal counsel to the Urgenda Foundation, which achieved a famous victory in a climate case in the Netherlands in 2015.
“The Dutch case proved that all governments have a legal duty to protect their citizens against climate change by doing their part to lower emissions,” said van Berkel. “Governments all over the world, including in the US, Belgium, Switzerland, and New Zealand, are being held legally accountable for their inaction on climate change, and all eyes will now be on what unfolds in Ireland.”
FIE Director Tony Lowes said they had all been “greatly encouraged by the recent declaration by the High Court that citizens have a constitutional right to an environment that is consistent with human dignity and the well being of citizens at large.”
A Facebook page has been established for the climate case:
PHOTO: Students supporting the climate case gathered last week in Dublin to hear Dutch lawyer Dennis van Berkel, (left) legal counsel to the Urgenda Foundation, whose famous court victory in 2015 led to the Dutch government having to achieve much higher reductions in greenhouse gases by 2020 than they had been projected to achieved.
Contacts: Sadhbh O Neill 353 (0) 87 2258599
Irish Language: Daithí Ó hÉalaithe +353 (0)87 6178852
Press Release announcing legal case
1. Ireland is one of 195 countries to have signed the Paris Agreement, which commits countries to preventing dangerous climate change and holding warming to well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels as well as pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
2. Ireland has the third-highest level of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the EU and a recent report confirmed that Ireland’s emissions have increased since 1990 and are projected to increase further between now and 2020, and again by 2030. The projected total increase in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2020 is between 7.5% and 10%. See the EPA’s estimates of emissions in the periods 1990 to 2015 and the EPA’s emissions projects 2016-2035. This compares to the reduction of 25%-40% between 1990 and 2020 in order to help avert dangerous climate change, as recognised by Ireland repeatedly via the UNFCCC process.
3. Ireland’s Climate Act is the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.
4. FIE is represented in the case by O’Connell & Clarke Solicitors and by barristers Eoin McCullough SC and John Kenny BL.