Carbon budgets a ‘significant milestone’ in Ireland’s climate action

26 Oct 2021

Image: © dima/Stock.adobe.com

The first carbon budget is looking to reduce emissions by 4.8pc each year until 2025.

The first proposed carbon budgets in Ireland have been described as a “significant milestone” in efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

The country’s Climate Change Advisory Council has proposed these budgets in line with the commitment of reaching a 51pc reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2018 levels.

It is the first time that Ireland will set limits on greenhouse gas emissions for specific periods. Once economy-wide carbon budgets are approved, the Government will also outline emissions ceilings for different sectors.

In the first carbon budget, the Climate Change Advisory Council has proposed reducing emissions by 4.8pc on average each year from 2021 to 2025. The second budget would then see emissions reduce by 8.3pc on average each year from 2026 to 2030.

‘The carbon budgets provide a framework, but what is urgently required is transformative change which is led by all of Government on a sustained basis’
– MARIE DONNELLY

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, said these carbon budgets are a “significant milestone” on the “journey towards net zero”.

The Climate Change Advisory Council is an independent body established in 2016 to assess how Ireland is making the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The council was given a strengthened role under the Climate Act to advise and propose carbon budgets to the Government, and earlier this month four new members were appointed to the council to help with this task.

Marie Donnelly, chair of the council, said the proposed budgets are “based on the best available science” and outline an “appropriate and necessary path” to addressing the climate challenge.

“The carbon budgets provide a framework, but what is urgently required is transformative change which is led by all of Government on a sustained basis, supported by all sectors of the economy, and all members of society,” she added. “This will require significant investment across the economy.”

The carbon budget proposals will now go to the Government and then the Oireachtas for review and approval.

The Government is due to publish its Climate Action Plan 2021 in the coming weeks, setting out indicative emissions reduction ranges for all sectors.

“Every sector of the economy will need to play its part,” Ryan said. “There will be different targets for each sector, based on their respective starting points and the relative difficulty, cost, speed and benefits of reducing emissions.

“This will be challenging and will require fundamental changes in many parts of Irish life, but it is also an opportunity to create a cleaner, greener economy and society that cuts emissions, creates jobs and protects our people and the planet.”

The plan is expected to be released on 3 November, coinciding with the upcoming COP26 climate summit being held in Glasgow.

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com