This is the first time that Ireland will set limits on greenhouse gas emissions for set periods of time.
The carbon budgets are part of a roadmap of actions that are set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021. The Act, which was signed into law in July of this year, commits Ireland to reach a legally-binding target of net-zero emissions no later than 2050, and a cut of 51% by 2030 (compared to 2018 levels).
The proposed carbon budgets will go to Government and then to the Oireachtas. The Oireachtas will be tasked with reviewing and approving these carbon budgets within a 4-month period. Once these overall, economy-wide carbon budgets are approved, the Government will divide the overall carbon budgets into sectoral emissions ceilings.
To ensure that climate action continues at pace, the Government will publish Climate Action Plan 2021 in the coming weeks. This plan will set out indicative ranges of emissions reductions for all sectors. It will also set out the practical measures that we need to take to meet our climate targets.
Commenting on the development, Minister Ryan said, “when we passed the Climate Act in July we embedded the process of carbon budgeting into law. The Act also strengthened the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council, to empower this independent body to do this important work, based on the most up-to-date climate science. These first carbon budgets are a significant milestone in our efforts to tackle climate change.”
“The first two 5-year carbon budgets equate to a total reduction of 51% emissions over the period to 2030. This is part of the journey towards ‘net zero’, which commits us to the transition to a ‘climate resilient, biodiversity rich, environmentally sustainable and climate neutral economy’ no later than 2050.”
“The Government will shortly publish Climate Action Plan 2021. Every sector of the economy will need to play its part. 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.”