I propose to take Questions Nos. 59 and 389 together.
I published the Government's Climate Action Plan on 17 June. The plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Plan represents a significant step-up in ambition, with a target abatement range for each of the key sectors that contribute to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions: Electricity, Enterprise, Built Environment, Transport, Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use, Waste and the Circular Economy, and the Public Sector. The analysis set out in the Plan shows that it is not only technically feasible to meet our 2030 EU targets, but that it is also economically achievable, with the majority of necessary abatement measures being, over their life-time, either cost-neutral or resulting in net savings to society.
The Plan also sets out new governance arrangements that will be put in place to provide effective oversight of implementation of the Plan, and which also align with the relevant recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action.
- a Climate Action Delivery Board jointly chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, holding individual Departments and agencies to account
- the publication of a quarterly report on the implementation of actions set out in the Plan
- a statutory basis for establishing carbon budgets with clear sectoral targets
- a strengthened Climate Action Council
- a strengthened Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action to hold the Government to account on the implementation of climate policy
The Climate Action Plan 2019 also proposes enhanced engagement with citizens and communities through more coherent mobilisation of existing structures and initiatives to inform, engage, motivate, and empower individuals and communities to take climate action. The Plan recognises that individuals and communities will be at the heart of the low-carbon transition, and will seek to promote positive choices that will ultimately bring long-term benefits to communities across Ireland.
Furthermore, recognising that the pace of technological, scientific, societal and economic changes, the Plan will be updated every 12 months, underpinned by consultation with key stakeholders.
In this context, I am currently undertaking a series of nationwide consultative meetings, to explain the approach, hear views and take on ideas from members of the public on the implementation of the Climate Action Plan. The first of these events took place in University College Cork on 21 June and a second event will take place this coming Friday in Thurles, County Tipperary. Further meetings are being planned for Galway, the Midlands, Dublin and Donegal before the end of July.