The first recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly report on the topic of “How the State can make Ireland a Leader in Tackling Climate Change” included a proposal that a new or existing independent body, resourced appropriately and given a broad range of new functions and powers, be mandated to propose five year national and sectorial targets for emissions reductions. The regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland is currently determined through two different mechanisms.
Emissions from power generation and large industrial installations are regulated by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which imposes an overall emissions target at EU level rather than Member State level.
Emissions from other sectors of the economy, including agriculture, transport, buildings, waste, and other industrial sectors are subject to targets at Member State level. The 2009 Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) 406/2009/EC established binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for EU Member States for the period 2013 to 2020 for these non-ETS sectors. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20% below their levels in 2005.
For the period to 2030, the recently agreed EU Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) sets out binding annual emission targets for each Member State for the period 2021 to 2030. Ireland’s target under this Regulation will require a 30% reduction in 2005 levels of emissions by 2030. In addition to the specific target for 2030, the ESR also imposes annual emissions ceilings for each Member State over the period 2021-2030. These annual ceilings therefore determine the Member State's carbon budget for the period.
I have recently received a mandate from Government to begin the preparation of a new All of Government Plan to bring about a step change in our climate ambition over the next decade, and beyond. My vision is that this new Plan will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. It will have a strong focus on implementation, including actions with timelines and steps needed to achieve each action, assigning clear lines of responsibility for delivery.
I am currently working with my officials to develop proposals for the new plan, and I will shortly be engaging with my colleagues across Government in this regard. These actions will cover:
- Regulatory framework
- Adoption of known technologies
- Addressing market failure
- Driving change in business models
- The public sector leading by example, and
- Engaging with citizens and communities
In developing this Plan, each of the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly and the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, will be considered.