Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (72)

Mick Wallace

Question:

72. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if Ireland was approached in relation to the proposal put together by France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg ahead of the informal EU Council meeting in Sibiu calling on the European Union to step up the fight against climate change and sign up to a European Commission plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; if Ireland will join this call for increased action in view of the recent declaration of a climate emergency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21531/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The adoption of the motion to endorse the report of the Joint Committee on Climate Action by the Dáil, including the declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency, is a significant statement and underlines the importance of the work underway on our All of Government Climate Plan. The Government has welcomed the publication of the Joint Committee’s report, which is a milestone in the development of Ireland’s climate policy.

The report of the Joint Committee contains a detailed set of recommendations addressing polices and measures across a range of Government Departments and Agencies, which are now being considered in the context of the All of Government Climate Plan. This Plan will set out how this Government intends to significantly step up our response to climate change by driving the delivery of policies to reduce emissions in all key sectors, including electricity, agriculture, transport, industry, buildings, and the public sector. The Plan will have a strong focus on implementation, including clear timelines and steps needed to achieve each action. It will lead to a significant step-up in policy ambition and delivery, to ensure that we at least meet our 2030 targets and get on a clear pathway to meeting our 2050 objectives.

Ireland is a strong supporter of the commitment made by the EU under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

The joint proposal referred to by the Deputy was circulated in advance of the informal EU summit in Siblu to all Member States who were invited to support it. While Ireland supports an ambitious long term climate strategy for the EU, discussions on the European Commission’s proposed strategy are still ongoing in the Council. Ireland looks forward to further discussion on the EU’s long-term climate ambitions in the context of the EU’s new Strategic Agenda which is expected to be considered at the European Council in June.

The engagement I am having in developing the All of Government Climate Plan will inform further engagement by the Government with its EU counterparts on how the EU can put in place an ambitious long-term climate strategy.