I thank the Cathaoirleach and the committee for the huge amount of work they have put into developing the concept of a climate action strategy that will help us achieve the targets we have set. I also take this opportunity to thank my officials who are here, Mr. Brian Carroll and Mr. Eoin McLoughlin, and the many other officials in other Departments who have contributed immensely to the development of this plan, which is determined to raise our ambition and deliver on the expectations that children and future generations are putting upon us.
The past ten years have seen Ireland achieve a great deal. In many ways, those things would have been unthinkable in the past. We changed our Constitution and we brought our economy back to full employment. However, we can and we must do the same for the greatest challenge facing humanity today, namely, global warming and the impact it is having on our society and the sustainability of civilisation and the natural world, which so many people are looking to us to protect.
Ireland is far off course and very exposed. We set a target of reducing emissions by 20%. Between 2013 and 2020, the impact of the recession brought us below the curve but when the economy started to recover, it was very clear that we failed to break the link between economic prosperity and carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. We have to act now to make ourselves resilient in the face of this perilous threat facing the globe. The longer we delay taking the necessary action, the harder it will be and the fewer opportunities will be available to our people in the coming change.
Like many of those achievements, we started by developing a determined resolve across our community. That is the significance of this Oireachtas committee bringing forward, on the basis of the proposals coming from the Citizens' Assembly, a detailed worked-out strategy based on hours of hearings. As with other challenges we faced in making change in this country, that has created a solid foundation. It is something that can allow us to bring the community together behind this effort. It is not without significance that the committee's report was endorsed unanimously by the Dáil, in that process declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency. That has created an important backdrop for the work we are now seeking to do.
This effort is integral to the vision that we have for Ireland in Project Ireland 2040 of a country that is regionally balanced and that is compact, connected and sustainable. There is much work to be done to realise that vision.
I accept fully that Government has major and central responsibility in bringing forward this plan and designing the roadmap for achieving our targets. In doing that, we have sought to design a pathway that is both sensible and fair, sensible in the sense that we have selected areas which represent the least burden to our community in making the adjustment. We have gone to great care to evaluate the different options and different technologies and how they might evolve over the next ten years and picked a pathway that represents the least burden and the most opportunity. We have also been at pains to ensure that those who are most exposed or least equipped to support the change necessary will be supported as a part of this plan.
I suppose what makes the journey difficult for people is that we all have to make a big shift in our priorities in how we spend our money and how we live our lives. It is important that we engage with citizens as leaders of this community to persuade them that this is the right course and that the future resilience of their children, farms, enterprises and homes depends on us making changes that adapt to this new reality. There are actions expected of every section of Irish society and one will see these are detailed in the chapters on electricity, enterprise, agriculture, transport, the built environment, waste generation and the circular economy; on the public service leading by example; and on the international stage.
I am confident that when we determine to make a shift, we build on this shared determination, and we put in place the structures that we are putting in place here that are legally underpinning this and overseen with the leadership of the Taoiseach's office. We can deliver this change. The committee will recognise in much of the plan its own fingerprints and the work that it has put in.
We are supporting the European Union aim to be net zero in 2050 and undertaking the work to show how Ireland can contribute to that. We are aiming for 70% renewables in electricity. We are aiming to deliver the 30% reduction in the non-ETS. We are adopting what I might call a "precautionary principle" in doing that. We are not relying on high oil prices to do the lifting for us or switching from the ETS sector to make less adaptation in the undertaking. Of course, the reason we are doing this is that the period to 2020 is the start of the change we must make if we are to reach net zero in 2050; the pace of change will increase in that second period after 2030. It is right that we try to do as much as we can in this early period when we get a much bigger payback in terms of the overall impact.
We are adopting carbon budgets, with a target range assigned to each Department and sector. This is a powerful tool to change the way Departments and Ministers think about their responsibilities. We are all used to living within the financial resources that are given to us. We must now be conscious that we must live within the carbon resources that are afforded to us in a fair way. That is also something this committee was determined to see.
We have adopted a model of a climate implementation board in the Taoiseach's office so that we have that central not only co-ordination but impetus and momentum of accountability to the very heart of Government. We are strengthening the Joint Committee on Climate Action, as the committee itself recommended. We are updating our legislative arrangements so that the responsibility and accountability will be clearcut.
I hope the committee sees in this plan something that it can support and adopt. It deals with an issue that is contentious for some, namely the pricing of carbon. I am an absolute believer in the pricing of carbon. It is important to recognise that the emission of carbon dioxide damages our environment and at present people do not pay for the damage that is created. In any trajectory of change, we must recognise the polluter pays principle and the damage has to be included in the price if we are to make the right decisions.
We have here something that is workable and deliverable. We have 183 actions that get this project off to a strong start but I assure the committee that this will be a rolling plan. We will be taking on board new ideas and new suggestions. We will be adapting it based on experience and we will be seeking to make this a rolling, adaptive and sensitive approach to what is an important challenge.
This is a test for all of us, particularly those of us who are policy makers. It is a test for citizens as well. I believe that the spark of creative power is strong in Ireland and that if we can kindle that, we will deliver this change and ensure that we pass on this country, but also the globe, in a better condition as a result of the actions we initiate from now on.