Until now, the Climate Action Plan has been a series of promises, but the Government is now trying to enshrine some of these actions into law.
A number of the promises made under the Climate Action Plan announced last year have been included as part of a published draft Bill that the Government says is “priority legislation” in the new Dáil term.
The Draft General Scheme of the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill 2019 will enshrine into law the need for Ireland to meet 2050 emissions reduction targets, by which point the Government has previously said it wants the country to be carbon neutral.
Each Government department will also be required to meet its set decarbonisation target, with the corresponding minister being responsible for holding their department to account, as well as presenting annual reports on how they fared.
Also, as part of the Bill, the Oireachtas will be given a central role in the setting of the carbon budget as well as overseeing its delivery. Carbon budgets in general will also be made a legal requirement.
These will see the adoption of a grouping of three five-year budgets calculated on an economy-wide basis, starting with the periods 2021 to 2025, 2026 to 2030 and 2031 to 2035.
‘A very short time to act’
Another of the promises announced last year was banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. This will also be enshrined in law should the Bill pass. Meanwhile, the Climate Action Plan itself will be updated annually across all sectors.
Speaking this morning, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD, said: “We must act now and leave a better, healthier, more sustainable Ireland for future generations. Accountability is the key to making progress.
“We have a very short time to act. We must put in place a strong framework to ensure every sector, every policy, every decision delivers on the transformation that is required. Today represents a hugely important step in putting in place the necessary arrangements to achieve this objective.”
Later this month, Ireland will submit its draft National Energy and Climate Plan to the European Commission, covering 2021 until 2030, which lays out the country’s emissions reduction targets and detailed plans on how it will achieve this through increased renewable energy consumption.