The next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate crisis which threatens our safe future on this planet. The Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 - a 51% reduction over the decade - and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The 2050 target will be set in law by the Climate Action Bill, which will drive the implementation of a suite of policies that will help achieve the Programme for Government's goal of a 7% yearly reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The drafting of the Bill is a key part of our journey towards achieving the 7% annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This step-change in ambition will be challenging and require fundamental changes in so many parts of Irish life, but I believe that Ireland can and will rise to this challenge. In doing so we will be able to improve the health, welfare and security of all our people. The next iteration of the Climate Action Plan will identify and set out the far reaching policy changes across every sector to deliver these emissions reductions. In particular, the Programme for Government commits to:
- Delivering a National Aggregated Model of Retrofitting reaching over 500,000 homes by 2030, as part of the EU Renovation Wave.
- Learning from district heating pilot projects to launch a scaled-up programme.
- Accelerating the electrification of the transport system, including electric bikes, electric vehicles, and electric public transport.
- Developing a strategy for remote working and remote service delivery, taking advantage of the opportunity for a rapid roll-out of the National Broadband Plan.
- Ensuring an unprecedented modal shift in all areas by a reorientation of investment to walking, cycling and public transport.
- Developing a new Sustainable Rural Mobility Plan.
- Introducing a transformational programme of research and development, to ensure that Ireland is at the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation in meeting our climate targets.
- Developing a major drive to realise the immense potential of Ireland's offshore renewables.
- Devising a systemic programme of sectoral audits of the commercial and industrial sector to underpin, area by area, strategies to meet the new national targets.
- Expanding and incentivising micro generation, including roof-top solar energy.
- Developing a new strategy to expand afforestation, particularly Close to Nature Forestry and agro-forestry.
- Transforming the scale of organics farming, with the delivery of a fair price for farmers at its heart.
- Building on Ireland's relative carbon efficiency in food production and ensuring the delivery of the measures identified by Teagasc to the fullest extent possible.
- Delivering an incremental and ambitious reduction in the use of inorganic fertiliser through to 2030.
- Rapidly evaluating the potential role of sustainable bioenergy.
- Completing and implementing a major Waste and Circular Economy Action Plan.
My Department has commenced work on the next iteration of the Climate Action Plan, due to be published in 2021. As part of this work, modelling inputs will be drawn from the broad spectrum of expertise available to the Government as well as contracted expertise. This work will include examining the expected abatement potential of Programme for Government commitments in relevant sectors, including those in the transport sector, in order to assess how Ireland will be able to achieve an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030.