Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (434, 435)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

434. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the implications of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, report SR15, which shows that in order to have a good chance of keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius, the EU would need to substantially increase climate action; if the Government will support proposed higher EU targets for 2030 without seeking special favours or exemptions at the European Council on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52186/18]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

435. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on whether Ireland’s commitment to the Paris Agreement requires far higher emission reduction rates than acknowledged by a group (details supplied) and the long-term resilience reports; his further views on whether rapid fossil fuel phase-out would deliver greater energy security and greater economic and social resilience; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52187/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 434 and 435 together.

Addressing climate change, whether through decarbonisation of our economy, or preparing to adapt to the impacts of climate change, is one of the most significant challenges of this century. The publication on 8 October of the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 C confirms the absolute urgency of achieving deep cuts in our greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.

Ireland has fully supported the level of ambition in recent negotiations to reform the EU ETS and to put in place Member State targets for non-ETS sectors under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation. Ireland also continues to support high ambition in on-going negotiations at EU level in relation to emissions standards for both Light- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. I consider it essential that the EU seeks high ambition in all of its sectorial policies and targets for 2030, which will be essential in supporting individual Member States to achieve their respective targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation and may enable the EU as a whole to achieve emissions reductions by 2030 in excess of the 40% reduction on 1990 levels already committed to by the European Council.

Ireland supports strong EU ambition in order to contribute to the Paris Agreement objectives. It is vital that the EU long-term strategy to be adopted on foot of the European Commission’s recent proposals can be delivered collectively by the EU in the most cost-effective manner possible, with all Member States participating in this effort, balancing considerations of fairness, cost-effectiveness and solidarity. In Ireland’s case, any revision to interim targets for 2030 would also need to take into account our specific socio-economic circumstances, including our large agriculture sector, light industrial base, small ETS sector, and dispersed settlement patterns. 

I have recently secured Government approval to prepare an All of Government Plan which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I will work with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives across electricity, transport, heat, agriculture and other relevant sectors. The new plan will have a strong focus on implementation, including actions with clear timelines and steps needed to achieve each action, assigning clear lines of responsibility for delivery. The new plan will also be informed by successful approaches in other countries, where such approaches could be adapted for implementation in Ireland. This Plan will build on the previous actions taken by Government, including in the National Mitigation Plan and the National Development Plan, and is to be completed by the end of February 2019.