I am pleased to have the opportunity to update the House on this matter. Climate change is one of the key challenges of this century and failure to address it effectively will result in major adverse impacts that will affect all countries. The latest climate science has observed unprecedented changes in the climate system. I am pleased to present this annual transition statement as provided for under section 14(1) of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015. This is the fifth annual transition statement and it is being presented to both Houses in line with the requirements of the 2015 Act. The statement includes an overview of Ireland's climate change mitigation and adaptation policy measures, including specific updates for the various sectors designated in the 2015 Act. The 2020 annual transition statement also sets out a record of our greenhouse gas emissions and projections from the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, as well as a report on the State's compliance under EU law and international agreements. While the 2020 annual transition statement must predominately contain information in respect of 2019, it also records more recent policy developments relating to climate mitigation and adaptation. This strengthened climate governance framework provided for under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 means that annual transition statements are now replaced with climate action plans and long-term climate strategies and, therefore, this will be the final annual transition statement.
To give a brief overview of the various development and policy measures adopted to mitigate and reduce emissions, I will highlight some of the key items included within the 2020 annual transition statement. The climate action (amendment) Bill was signed into law in July 2021. It set Ireland on a legally binding path to net-zero emissions no later than 2050 and to a 51% reduction in emissions, relative to 2018 levels, by the end of this decade. To deliver on the ambition set out in the Act, the Government published the Climate Action Plan 2021 last November. It includes policies and measures in every sector to bring about the significant changes needed to transform our society and to meet our climate ambition for 2030 and beyond. The 2021 Act established a system of carbon budgeting as a key element of a strengthened legislative framework. In April, following an extensive consultation process, a programme of carbon budgets was approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas and thus came into effect.
The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications is currently preparing the sectoral emission ceilings for Government approval in the coming weeks. This process has included extensive engagement with all relevant Departments and agencies. Carbon pricing is a key pillar of Ireland's overall decarbonisation strategy. The Finance Act 2020 sets a statutory trajectory for carbon prices in Ireland that will raise an additional €9.5 billion by 2030. This revenue is being allocated to programmes that support sustainability and those most vulnerable to rising costs, including €5 billion for energy efficient retrofits, €3 billion to address fuel poverty and a just transition, as well as €1.5 billion to promote sustainable agriculture practices.
On the electricity generation sector, the 2020 annual transition statement highlights progress made while also noting our increasing ambitions for renewable energy. This fundamental shift will require major changes to the electricity generation mix, transmission and distribution grids alongside significant changes to our national demand profiles and storage capacity. The statement identifies measures adopted and progress made across a number of areas, including via the renewable electricity support scheme, RES; the enactment of the Maritime Area Planning Act 2021; ongoing work on a new offshore renewable energy development plan as well as efforts to support microgeneration and small-scale solar energy. The 2020 statement also highlighted ongoing work to enhance our electricity interconnection and upgrade our electricity grid, with €4 billion allocated for capital investment over the period 2021-2025.
The statement lists progress in the enterprise sector through a number of the measures to meet our 2030 targets. These include the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment engaging with the cement sector to identify opportunities for further introduction of alternative fuel sources; Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland introducing strategies that focus on decarbonisation and sustainability; the launch of the ClimateToolKit4Business website; the extension of the accelerated capital allowance scheme for energy efficient equipment; and the introduction of the disruptive technologies innovation fund and the climate enterprise action fund.
In our built environment, the statement provides updates on progress made to decarbonise our commercial buildings with a range of supports and funding. In addition, support is provided to our SMEs through the excellence in energy efficiency design, EXEED, programme to provide energy savings and emissions reductions. The public sector energy efficiency programme, led by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, is providing comprehensive support to public bodies to achieve their energy efficiency targets. The annual statement also notes how Climate Action Plan 2021 supports measures to develop our district heating potential and to ensure our retrofit ambitions also align with the Housing for All strategy.
The 2020 annual transition statement details how our transport sector is playing a significant role in the national mitigation effort. The decarbonisation pathway in transport is multilayered and will primarily focus on shifting to more sustainable transport modes; reducing the overall distances driven by fossil-fuel-powered cars; accelerating the electrification of road transport and an increased use of biofuels.
Measures to support this have included the delivery of 261 new buses in 2021, with progress also made on delivering BusConnects and the launch of the NTA's Connecting Ireland rural mobility plan. A low-emission vehicle task force has been established and a national electric vehicle, EV, charging infrastructure strategy is in development to prioritise delivery of fast charge point infrastructure over the next five years. An additional 248 staff were allocated across the 31 local authorities and national roads offices to assist with the delivery of the significantly increased number of projects to promote active travel.
The launch of the sustainable mobility policy in April set out the framework to deliver at least 500,000 additional daily active travel and public transport journeys by 2030 and a 10% reduction in the distances driven by fossil-fuelled cars. The Department of Transport is developing a ten-year strategy for the haulage sector that will be focused on improving efficiencies and standards and helping the sector move to a low-carbon future.
The 2020 annual transition statement highlights a number of developments in how our agriculture and land use, land use change and forestry, LULUCF, sector is committing to reducing its emissions. The sector will also contribute by reducing land-based emissions through managing our soils in a better way. Food Vision, launched in August 2021, is a landmark for the agrifood sector and has the potential to transform the agriculture, food, forestry and marine sectors, with sustainability at its core.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, DAFM, has overseen a number of programmes and initiatives to support the farming community to adopt and expand sustainable practices. This has included collaboration with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on the nitrates action programme to reduce chemical nitrogen use, establish a national fertiliser register, reduce the crude protein content of livestock feed and upskill farmers.
Other initiatives and programmes to support cost savings and more efficient and sustainable farming have included the targeted agricultural modernisation scheme, TAMS, the young farmer capital investment scheme and the green, low-carbon, agri-environment scheme, GLAS. Further work is also ongoing on the promotion of protected urea fertilisers. There has also been significant improvement in grant and premium rates for the forestry for fibre scheme, which has been extended to the end of 2022. The DAFM is currently preparing a new forest strategy and in 2020, €79.2 million of capital expenditure was invested in forestry development.
The 2020 annual transition statement also highlights our ongoing work on climate adaptation to address current and future risks posed by a changing climate. Ireland's robust adaptation strategies will also have positive benefits through fostering green growth, innovation, jobs, ecosystem enhancement and improvements in water and air quality. Ireland's first statutory national adaptation framework identified 12 key sectors requiring sectoral adaptation plans. These plans were approved by Government and published in October 2019.
The progress on implementation of the agriculture, forest and seafood adaptation plan has been made both within the DAFM and externally. Work has continued to raise the profile of adaptation by aligning the mitigation and adaptation reporting processes together. Actions within this biodiversity sectoral adaptation plan build on the foundations of the national biodiversity action plan. These actions are aimed at improving sustainable agriculture and fisheries, better soil and land management and, most urgently, the restoration of natural systems.
Climate change can also cause major infrastructural damage to transport networks, as well as disruptions to services and safety conditions. The adaptation plan for transport infrastructure identifies key risks in the area and serves as a step towards building Ireland's long-term vision of a low-carbon and environmentally sustainable transport sector by 2050. The energy and gas networks adaptation plan seeks to identify options that will help build resilience against the impacts of climate change and asses our vulnerability to likely climate impacts on our electricity and gas networks. The adaptation plan for the water quality and water services infrastructure presents an assessment of future climate risks to the sectors. The plan outlines the measures available to build resilience to the effects of climate change and weather-related events and other socio-economic developments in both sectors.
The 2020 annual transition statement refers to the EPA's provisional greenhouse gases emissions report for 2019 emissions and projections for 2020 to 2040. However, as there are now more up-to-date figures available, I will provide a brief overview of them. In November 2021, the agency reported that for 2020, total emissions in Ireland were estimated to have declined by approximately 3.6% compared to 2019. This reduction was driven by a drop in the use of peat for electricity generation and Covid-19's impact on transport. This relatively small overall reduction, given the substantial impact Covid has had on our society, further highlights the transformative nature of the measures that are now required to meet our 2030 and 2050 targets.
In May, the EPA released its emissions projections out to 2040. These projections estimate that in 2021, Ireland's emissions rose by 6% compared to 2020. In some part, this was driven by our emergence from Covid-19 and associated restrictions. The agency also estimated that we were not on course to meet our 2030 targets, although its modelling could not fully factor in all actions and measures in our climate action plan, given further technical details are still to be developed.
We must consider how to accelerate the delivery of measures and actions that can not only reduce our emissions, but also support new ways of conducting business and encouraging innovation. As part of the process to deliver the next climate action plan, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications will engage with other Departments to identify opportunities for accelerating our climate action.
The transition to a carbon-neutral economy will provide considerable opportunities to foster innovation, create new jobs and grow businesses in areas such as offshore wind, cutting-edge sustainable agriculture and low-carbon construction. While we all must act together towards our climate objective, I realise that the costs of climate action will be more acutely felt by some than by others. As a Government, we are committed to protecting those most vulnerable and to ensuring a just transition to a low-carbon economy. I thank Members for their time and I welcome their comments.