Thursday, 18 February 2021

Questions (42)

Bernard Durkan


42. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the degree to which his Department continues to monitor the various factors contributing to carbon production; the way a reduction can be achieved in the short to medium term, having due regard to the environment and the economic needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9333/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Responsibility for monitoring Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions rests with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who prepare our national emissions inventories and projections. Inventories are compiled by the EPA according to international standards to meet EU and United Nations reporting obligations and to inform national policy development. The national emissions inventory report contains detailed information on the factors contributing to carbon production across all sectors of the economy.

The Climate Action Plan 2019 identifies how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for carbon emissions, and puts us on a trajectory which would be consistent with net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Key measures in Climate Action Plan 2019 which will support emissions reductions in the short to medium term include:

- Enacting the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021;

- Delivering 70% renewable electricity, including a building a new offshore wind sector;

- Having 900,000 electric vehicles on our roads, including 61,000 electric delivery vans, 34,000 electric trucks and up to 1,200 electric buses;

- Retrofitting 500,000 buildings, phasing out of fossil fuel boilers, and bringing in new renewable heat systems;

- Delivering significant improvements in the carbon storing potential of our land use across Ireland, including re-wetting of bogs.

It is important that we ensure these policy changes support economic and social development, employment retention and creation, and that their wider environmental impact is understood. Therefore, the strategies to deliver the emissions reductions will require extensive consultation, detailed planning and analysis, organisation, and adequate mechanisms for funding and incentives. Furthermore, we must embed climate resilience as part of our recovery to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be important that the increase in climate ambition set out in the Programme for Government is achieved in a cost-effective manner balancing considerations of fairness, cost effectiveness and solidarity, while ensuring that no one is left behind.