I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 114 together.
I refer to the reply to Question No. 258 of 14 February 2013.
In issuing the Review of National Climate Policy in November 2011, I announced that a three-pronged approach would be undertaken in order to develop the necessary policy mix to support an ambitious but realistic national mitigation agenda. In addition to policy analysis by the Secretariat to the National Economic and Social Council and the public consultation which I undertook in 2012, I stated very clearly that the third pillar of the approach would be the pursuit of sectoral mitigation progress through the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change and the Green Economy, based on positive engagement with the relevant Departments in whose sectoral areas progress must be made if we are to meet our binding targets under EU law.
Significant moves forward have been made under this third pillar of the policy development agenda. In the update on progress on the development of national climate policy and legislation which I issued on 28 December 2012, I specifically addressed the sectoral challenge. Responding to the strong case made by the NESC Secretariat for the national climate challenge to be reframed – moving beyond a sole compliance approach, and re-focussing on a whole-of-government and societal agenda – I announced that Departments with responsibility for key sectors in the transition to a low carbon economy had already been tasked with the preparation of individual 2050 low-carbon roadmaps. This step in the overall policy development process provides an opportunity for the Departments concerned, who are best placed in terms of ownership and understanding of their sectors, to lead the process of framing the low-carbon vision/objective for their sectors and to undertake the evaluation that is necessary to develop a robust and cost-effective policy platform for delivery of that vision in their area.
The key sectors are energy/built environment, transport and agriculture. While near zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2050 should set the context for the energy/built environment and transport sectoral roadmaps, generally reflecting the ambition at EU level, carbon neutrality is considered to be the more appropriate approach in the case of the agriculture sector.
The objective is to finalise these sectoral roadmaps – including a reasonable period of public consultation in the fourth quarter of this year. These sectoral roadmaps are an essential first step towards development of an overall national 2050 roadmap to a low-carbon society with a competitive low-carbon economy being finalised by my Department in early 2014.