Carbon proofing will have a key role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy and has been recognised by the Climate Change Advisory Council as an important tool for Ireland to achieve its long-term decarbonisation objectives in a cost-effective manner by 2050. As part of project appraisal for all public capital investments, it is essential to avoid expenditure that locks in long-term fossil fuel consumption. To that end, the climate action plan commits to reviewing the Government's public spending code in 2019. This guidance currently includes values for monetising the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Government investment and the plan proposes to significantly strengthen the calculation of a shadow price of carbon, such that proposed Government investments will need to value carbon at a level which will see the shadow price increase to €32 per tonne by 2020, €100 per tonne by 2030 and €265 per tonne by 2050.
The reform of the public spending code will also see a new stage introduced into the project life cycle. The project identification stage will become the first stage of the life cycle with the purpose of ensuring early consideration of approaches to deal with a policy issue ahead of selecting the preferred option and proceeding to the appraisal stage. Climate considerations will be incorporated in this new life cycle stage.
Consistent application of these rules will allow decision-makers to better understand and appreciate the climate consequences of their investment options. Separately, the climate action plan commits the Government to ensuring that all Government memoranda and major investment decisions are subject to a carbon impact and mitigation evaluation, for which a template will be developed. This will be incorporated in Cabinet procedures, in regulatory impact assessments and in project evaluation processes.