A month after the EPA issued a similar warning, Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council advises ‘urgent action’ to prevent climate-related disasters.
The Climate Change Advisory Council has issued a warning that if the current rate of policy implementation is to continue, Ireland will not meet its climate targets for either of the two carbon budget periods between 2021 to 2030.
In its annual review published today (25 July), the independent advisory body said that “urgent action” needs to be taken to ensure “emissions begin to fall much more rapidly” if Ireland is to meet its targets and prevent an increased in extreme weather events such as heatwaves, drought, storms and flooding.
“Ireland’s first task is to reduce and ultimately prevent emissions of greenhouse gases,” the report reads. “To support this, there must be effective and consistent engagement with communities, ensuring there is a fair and equitable transition, while building and maintaining public support and action.”
The council noted that the Government needs to address “areas of uncertainty” in how Ireland will reduce its emissions across each sector. It said that the sectoral emissions ceiling for the “land use, land use change and forestry’’ sector, for example, has still not been set.
In the energy sector, the council said that it is “critical” to stop using coal for electricity generation “as soon as possible”. It also called on the Government to conclude its onshore wind energy plans and increase assistance for local authorities to deliver renewable energy applications.
For transport, the report recommends Ireland’s motor tax should be “redesigned” to promote energy-efficient vehicles and investment in public transport needs to be increased, including in the further electrification of buses.
In the long run, Ireland also needs to be resilient to the inevitable outcomes of the climate crisis, the council argues.
“Government should set out a budget for developing our resilience to the effects of climate change. Given rising sea levels, a coastal management strategy is urgently needed to help actively manage our changing coastlines,” the report went on.
“An all-island approach to climate action should be developed further, especially for critical infrastructure such as our electricity network and the management of cross-border natural systems such as rivers.”
Only last month, the Environmental Protection Agency said that Ireland is on track to miss its emissions reduction targets by a significant margin with its current measures. It found that Ireland was on track to reduce emissions by 29pc by 2030, falling short of the 51pc target.
The World Meteorological Organization said in May that there is a 98pc chance that at least one of the next five years “and the five-year period as a whole” will be the warmest on record. Meanwhile, the first week of this month was the hottest week ever recorded.
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