Delivering a sustainable mobility system in Ireland is a key priority of my Department. The Programme for Government commits to 7% average annual emissions reductions to 2030, and our national climate ambition is being put on a statutory footing through the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill. The Bill aims to establish a target of carbon-neutrality by 2050, as well instigating as an economy-wide system of successive five-year carbon budgets to reach this ultimate target. Following this process, the transport sector will be set a target emissions range.
In the interim and despite the costs and challenges involved, a comprehensive programme of work is already underway in my Department to decarbonise the transport sector. We have a clear vision to move to more sustainable mobility through:
- Significant investment—to increase capacity and enhance services in our public transport system, as well as enabling more walking and cycling trips;
- Promoting a strong transition away from fossil fuels to lower-emitting alternatives, both in public (bus, coach, taxi and rail vehicles) and private fleets (passenger and commercial); and
- Sustainably increasing the blend of biofuels in the conventional fuel mix.
Added to national efforts, the EU is stepping-up ambition with a range of initiatives signposted in the European Green Deal. Over the coming months, my Department will actively engage with a range of EU climate legislation including the review of CO2 emission standards for cars and vans, the recasting of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, the development of the Euro 7 emissions standards, and consideration of extending Emissions Trading to the Aviation and Maritime sectors. Together, these national and European measures will steadily decarbonise the transport sector, and help Ireland achieve its emission reduction targets.