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Climate Change Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (162)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

162. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which his Department can look forward to achieving a higher than anticipated carbon reduction measures without negatively impacting on the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61950/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Acts 2015 to 2021, commit Ireland to achieve a climate neutral economy by no later than 2050, and provide for a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2018 levels. The significantly strengthened legally binding framework under the Acts, with clear targets and commitments set in law, will help ensure that Ireland achieves its climate goals and obligations in the near and long-term.

To deliver upon the ambition set out in the Acts, the Government published Climate Action Plan 2021 in November. The 2021 Plan identifies the actions necessary to achieve our emissions reductions targets for each sector of the economy, based on their respective starting points, and the relative difficulty, costs, speed, and benefits, of reducing emissions. The recently announced €165 billion National Development Plan (NDP) has been designed to ensure it supports the Government's climate ambitions. For the first time in Ireland, climate and environmental assessment of the NDP measures has been undertaken, along with an assessment of the alignment of the NDP as a whole with the principle of a green recovery.

Far from negatively impacting the economy, embracing and properly managing this necessary transition, including in the areas the retrofitting and renewable energy sector, the circular economy, clean mobility, green and blue infrastructure, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy, will create high quality employment opportunities that will be a source of significant employment growth over the coming decades, as well as supporting a stable tax base.

In fact the reality we face is that failure to rapidly move to a carbon-neutral economic model will have far reaching negative impacts on the economy and the public finances; undermine the long-term, sustainable competitiveness of the economy; and lock Ireland into a redundant fossil-fuel based economic model. This will cause the most significant disruptions to the Irish economy that have ever been experienced, and will certainly strain all of our Governmental and societal structures, resulting in significant cost and inequitable outcomes.

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