As the Deputy will be aware, the proposed carbon budgets were recently published by the Climate Change Advisory Council. This is the first step in finalising carbon budgets and ultimately dividing them into sectoral emission ceilings. The carbon budgets are economy-wide and do not set targets for specific sectors.
The Oireachtas has an important role in considering the carbon budgets in accordance with the provision of Section 9 of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021.
The Government will shortly publish the Climate Action Plan 2021. This plan will set out indicative ranges of emissions reductions for all sectors. It will also set out the practical measures that we need to take to meet our climate targets for both 2030 and set pathways to climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. My Department has engaged proactively with the public, stakeholders, and other Government Departments to deliver an ambitious, fair, and achievable Climate Action Plan.
There will be different ambition levels for every sector, based on their respective starting points, and the relative difficulty, cost, speed, and benefits, of reducing emissions.
The Plan will reflect the significant challenges of reducing emissions from the agriculture sector. The high proportion of national emissions represented by agriculture means that for Ireland to meet its overall emissions reduction targets the agriculture sector must make a positive contribution to combating climate change and supporting the transition to a climate resilient and low carbon economy. Climate Action Plan 2021 will deliver a suite of measures which will encourage resilience across the agriculture sector, while also maintaining Ireland’s reputation for sustainable food production.