CLM’s Centre for Environmental Justice response to COP26

A failure to protect rights and deliver justice

Procedural and substantive justice go hand in hand

If equity and justice are not integrated into the COP process, they will not be delivered in its outcome. It is unsurprising then that the “most exclusive COP ever” populated with over 500 fossil fuel lobbyists (including Ireland’s) – larger than any national delegation, amidst a global vaccine apartheid, and staggering accommodation costs in Glasgow (some landlords charged £36,000 for apartment rentals for the fortnight)[1] that those most impacted by the climate crisis were further pushed to the margins.

Rose Wall, CEO of CLM remarked that:

“Lessons must be taken from COP26 at the national level. We must ensure that the voices of those most impacted by climate change and climate action in Ireland are prioritised in the transition to a completely decarbonised economy and society.”  

Whose voices count in determining the pace of a Just Transition?

Incremental progress at this point is unacceptable. Current commitments have us on track for a deadly increase in global temperature of 2.7°C. The barometer for “ambition” should not be weighed against previous UNFCCC texts, but science and equity. This is not a problem that will impact our children and grandchildren – its impacts are being felt right now. Without urgent action to maintain global temperature increase below 1.5°C, significant threats will be posed to the enjoyment of human rights by all.

It is welcome that Ireland has joined efforts to move beyond oil and gas, but greater action – and urgency – is required. We must prevent the development of oil and gas wells from existing exploration licenses and legislate to ban the development of liquefied natural gas terminals and the importation of fracked gas. We must substantially reduce overall energy demand to ensure that the transition to a decarbonised economy and society does not create human rights violations through the extraction of minerals.[2]

Ms. Wall continued:

“We must acknowledge that a target of climate neutrality, or net-zero, by 2050 “at the latest” will not reduce global temperatures. Winning slowly is the same as losing. The latest Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report – which the Irish Government has expressly endorsed – is clear: in order to remain below a 1.5°C temperature threshold in accordance with the Paris Agreement, cumulative emissions must be reduced “within a carbon budget.” This requires rapid and sustained reductions in emissions – starting now – not “climate neutrality” thirty years from now. The Annex of Actions to accompany the Climate Action Plan 2021 must therefore be published as a matter of urgency. In addition, the proposed carbon budget for 2030 must be adopted as soon as possible to ensure 51% reductions in emissions are delivered in line with Ireland’s legal obligations.”

Failure to provide a funding facility for loss and damage is unacceptable

It is unacceptable that the Glasgow Climate Pact provides no funding facility to address loss and damage. Further dialogue is not enough. Communities on the frontlines of this crisis – who have contributed least to the problem – are going underwater, both physically and financially. Support for mitigation and adaptation is not enough – some losses will be irreversible, and as this is a global crisis, the solution must too be global. We have seen throughout the pandemic what is possible in terms of States’ financial levers when an issue is treated as a genuine emergency.

Carbon markets will not deliver justice

Carbon markets fatally undermine the objective of the Paris Agreement to maintain global temperature increase to 1.5°C. There is no evidence that offsets work, and large polluters should not be granted rights to commodify nature while delaying reductions in emissions. For instance, offsetting the emissions of Shell alone would require a land mass three times the size of the Netherlands.[3]

The movement for climate justice is only growing in strength

Rose Wall concluded:

“We are thankful to the grassroots activists that were present at COP26 to ensure this outcome wasn’t worse. The unity and mobilization that was displayed at COP26 ensured that the voices and demands of those most impacted were heard. As Greta Thunberg says, we don’t need to look for hope – we create it. Our fight for climate and environmental justice continues.”

[1] https://www.ft.com/content/af8182e9-c287-424b-86de-99ce0f32239c

[2] https://londonminingnetwork.org/2020/12/resisting-green-extractivism/

[3] https://actionaid.org/news/2021/shells-net-zero-climate-plans-need-land-three-times-size-netherlands-carbon-offsets

About Community Law & Mediation and the Centre for Environmental Justice

Community Law & Mediation (CLM) is a community law centre and charity, established in Coolock in 1975. It assists more than 4,000 people each year in communities experiencing disadvantage, through free legal advice, advocacy, mediation and community education services.

CLM’s Centre for Environmental Justice opened in February 2021. It is the first of its kind in Ireland and its objective is to empower communities experiencing disadvantage on environmental justice issues and to advance legislative and policy change through –

  • Free monthly legal advice clinics on environmental justice
  • Training and information resources for community and environmental groups
  • Law reform and policy work.

For further details on this press release, please contact:Elizabeth Devine, Policy & Communications Manager:

Email: EDevine@communitylawandmediation.ie

Phone: 087 697 5677

Launch of new guides to taking Employment Equality and Equal Status cases

On Wednesday 5th May 2021, we launched two new guides to taking Employment Equality and Equal Status cases. We were delighted to be joined by Roderic O`Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and a panel of speakers including Suzy Byrne of the National Advocacy Service; Reuben Hambakachere of Cultur Migrants Centre; Eileen Flynn, Senator and activist on behalf of members of the Traveller community; and Jane O`Sullivan, Managing Solicitor at CLM, specialising in Employment & Equality law.

If you missed it, you can watch the event back here! or access the guides here

 

 

Letter to the Editor, Irish Times, Friday 11th September 2020 – Decision Support Service

This article by Kitty Holland highlighted CLM`s Annual Report 2019 and 45-year anniversary.

The article can be read in full here:

Big rise in employment and housing queries to community legal service, Irish Times, Monday 19th October 2020

 

Press Release: Limerick community law centre sees 40% increase in demand for services, July 2020

Access to legal aid vital amid Covid-19 uncertainty

Urgent action is required by the Government to ensure the rights of communities in Limerick and beyond are protected as we emerge from the Covid-19 emergency, according to Community Law & Mediation.

The community law centre and charity, based in Limerick, is reporting a 40 per cent increase in demand for its services, with many cases relating to breaches of employment and housing rights.

It says the State`s Civil Legal Aid Scheme should be expanded so that people
can access legal aid to help vindicate their employment, housing and social welfare rights.

Sinead Kerin, Manager of CLM Limerick, says:

The people who access our services come from disadvantaged areas in Limerick city and county and show great resilience in difficult circumstances. The effect of inherited poverty and inequality is a real challenge for many people and the Covid-19 crisis has only served to exacerbate this.

So far this year, we have seen a 40% increase in demand for our free legal advice clinics, advocacy and representation services. Just yesterday, I advocated on behalf of a person whose wages had not been paid by their employer; and another person who had been unfairly dismissed; I then assisted a woman who was struggling with domestic violence.

We must protect our communities and ensure that legal aid is accessible to all, particularly during this time of uncertainty. One very important step which should be taken is to expand the Civil Legal Aid Scheme so that people can access legal aid to vindicate employment, housing and social welfare rights.”

For further details on this press release, please contact: Email: Elizabeth Devine, Communications Manager:
EDevine@communitylawandmediation.ie
Phone: 087 697 5677

Covid-19 Advice & Resources

Receiving sound legal advice lifted a weight off my shoulders. I highly recommend the service, many thanks

Do you need legal advice?

Contact 01 847 7804 or 061 536 100 to book a free phone consultation.

For the duration of the Covid-19 restrictions, we are running Free Legal Advice Clinics by phone. If you are concerned about your employment or housing situation, or if you are having problems accessing your social welfare entitlements, we can help.

We are also collaborating with Chime, the National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss, to offer free legal advice for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. To book an appointment, or for more information, please contact 01 847 7804 or email info@communitylawandmediation.ie

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