I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 50 together.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s "Ireland's Provisional Greenhouse Gas emissions 1990-2020" report, published last month, indicates that our greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 3.6% in 2020 relative to 2019 levels.
While the reduction in total emissions is positive, Ireland still exceeded its emissions budget for 2020. We now must focus our efforts on meeting our obligations in the coming decade. Further transformative measures will be needed to meet our national climate ambitions.
In July, the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 was passed. This commits us to reach a legally-binding target of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, and a cut of 51% by 2030 (compared to 2018 levels). This Act provides the framework for Ireland to meet its international and EU climate commitments and to become a leader in addressing climate change.
The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC), which is an independent body has last week proposed carbon budgets. The carbon budgets will go to Government and then to the Oireachtas. Once these overall, economy-wide carbon budgets are approved, the Government will divide the overall budget into sectoral ceilings. All sectors (of the economy) will have to play their part. There will be different targets for each sector, based on their respective starting points and the relative difficulty, cost, speed and benefits of reducing emissions.
In order to ensure climate action continues at pace, the Government will publish 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 ambition for 2030.
This follows from the Government increasing investment in climate action significantly through the National Development Plan and the annual Budget process in areas such as active travel, public transport, EV grants and retrofitting to help citizens take climate action.