The former Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has told the Dáil he opposed the Climate Action Bill and recommended a number of changes.

There has been widespread debate over the bill, which will enshrine in law the Government’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Many in the agriculture community fear that farmers will be hit the hardest by emission targets.

Naughten has proposed that the Dáil and not the Government should vote on sectoral targets.

“This bill, if enacted, will legislate Dáil Éireann out of existence on all climate-related matters – this is undemocratic and must be opposed outright,” he said.

“Section 9 of this bill states that the carbon budget for the following five years is laid before the Dáil for approval, but TDs have no ability to amend or alter the proposals and if Dáil Éireann rejects the five-year carbon budget then the minister will within 60 days bring in his/her own five-year carbon budget without any need to consult with or seek the approval of the Dáil.

“Furthermore, Dáil Éireann has absolutely no role or input on the individual five-year sectoral emissions caps for agriculture, transport, home heating etc.

“This is akin to a law being passed that the Minister for Finance can present a full five-year set of taxation measures to the Dáil without any detail of how the minister intends to spend the money collected and if Dáil rejects it, the Government can bring in any tax measure it likes within 60 days and the Dáil has no say whatsoever.”

Naughten is one of several TDs who make up a regional group of Independents who hope to influence changes in the bill, with sectoral targets expected this summer.