I move amendment No. 25:
In page 6, between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following:
“Setting annual targets
5. (1) The Minister shall, by order, set the annual targets for each year in the periods mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g) of subsection (2).
(2) The Minister shall set the annual targets for each year—
(a) in the period 2015-2022, no later than 31 October 2015,
(b) in the period 2023-2027, no later than 31 October 2020,
(c) in the period 2028-2032, no later than 31 October 2024,
(d) in the period 2033-2037, no later than 31 October 2028,
(e) in the period 2038-2042, no later than 31 October 2033,
(f) in the period 2043-2047, no later than 31 October 2038,
(g) in the period 2048-2050, no later than 31 October 2042.
(3) The Minister shall, when setting annual targets, have regard to any advice they receive from the relevant body as to the cumulative amount of net emissions for the period 2015-2050 that is consistent with a reduction over that period of net emissions accounts which would allow the 2050 target to be met.
(4) The Minister shall, when setting annual targets, also have regard to the following matters (the “target-setting criteria”)—
(a) the objective of not exceeding the fair and safe emissions budget,
(b) scientific knowledge about climate change,
(c) technology relevant to climate change,
(d) economic circumstances, in particular the likely impact of the target on—
(i) the economy,
(ii) the competitiveness of particular sectors of the economy,
(iii) small and medium-sized enterprises,
(iv) jobs and employment opportunities,
(e) fiscal circumstances, in particular the likely impact of the target on taxation, public spending and public borrowing,
(f) social circumstances, in particular the likely impact of the target on those living in poorer or deprived communities,
(g) the likely impact of the target on those living in remote rural communities and island communities,
(h) energy policy, in particular the likely impact of the target on energy supplies, the renewable energy sector and the carbon and energy intensity of the economy,
(i) environmental considerations and, in particular, the likely impact of the targets on biodiversity,
(j) European and international law and policy relating to climate change.
(5) If annual targets for a period are not set by the corresponding date mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g) of subsection (2), the Minister shall set the annual targets as soon as reasonably practicable afterwards.
(6) In this Act, the “fair and safe emissions budget” is the aggregate amount of net emissions for the period 2015-2050 recommended by the relevant body as being consistent with contributing appropriately to stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”.
We are talking about saving the planet. To be honest, it is a bit more important. The amendment outlines the detail of the setting of annual targets in order to achieve the interim targets and the 2050 target, the criteria that must be taken into account when setting the targets and the timeframes for setting the targets.
This is not an unimportant issue. Let us look at what the European Commission said in the draft report in February of this year when it was talking about this country being likely to miss the targets. It said no progress was made in identifying how Ireland commits itself to meeting its existing binding climate and energy targets for the period up to 2020 in an integrated way and how best to use the earmarked available EU support for the structural development needed in different areas. The European Commission has already acknowledged that we are way behind and we are not going to be able to achieve the targets.
What our amendment does is set out a system based on the Bill that was passed in Scotland in 2009 in order to put a system in place for how targets could be met. The proposed Bill has no reference to targets, let alone annual targets or how they should be arrived at, which is what we are trying to do. In that sense, we think that without this change the Bill is not fit for purpose. It is strange that the amendment has not been ruled out of order because we make repeated reference to a 2050 target but under this legislation there is no such target. The amendment is not valid unless we have a 2050 target so I am surprised that it was not ruled out of order. We are pleased that it was not, as we believe this system of how we set targets should be upheld and included in the legislation.