Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (38)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

38. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications when the climate action and low carbon development (amendment) Bill will be published and introduced in Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2366/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government is committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, equivalent to a 51% reduction over the decade, and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. A key aspect of delivering on this ambition will be enacting the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill, which will underpin the on-going development of policies and measures.

The Bill will establish a 2050 climate neutrality objective in law and place all relevant climate plans and strategies on a statutory footing. The Bill will define how five-year carbon budgets and related sectoral targets will be set, with every sector contributing, ensuring we continue to work to achieve a broad political and societal consensus on the transition to a climate neutral economy and society. Putting these requirements in legislation places a clear obligation on this and future Governments for sustained climate action.

The Bill also provides for a significantly strengthened climate governance structure which includes annual revisions to the Climate Action Plan to address the need for intensive and regular monitoring and updating of policy actions to ensure we remain on track and within our emission limits. In addition, Ministers will have to account annually for their performance in reducing emissions to an Oireachtas Committee. The annual revision to the Climate Action Plan, as well as enhanced ministerial accountability, will combine to act as a further review mechanism and opportunity to re-adjust or refocus actions, if required.

The Bill has undergone extensive pre-legislative scrutiny in the Joint Committee on Climate Action. I am currently considering the Committee's pre-legislative scrutiny report and recommendations (published on 18 December 2020) with a view to updating the draft Bill and bringing it to Government as soon as possible for approval to publish it and initiate the legislative process in the Oireachtas.