The Annual Report of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) provides independent analysis to Government on Climate Action, to inform ongoing policy development and implementation.
2021 has seen a step change in our approach to climate action, with the signing into law of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021, and the publication of the National Development Plan and the Climate Action Plan 2021, reflecting the enhanced ambition set out in the Programme for Government. The significantly strengthened legally binding framework under the Act with clear targets and commitments set in law, will help ensure that Ireland achieves its national, EU and international climate goals and obligations in the near and long-term.
The transition to climate-neutrality will require changes across all sectors of our society and economy, involving collaborative effort by Government, business, communities, and individuals to implement new and ambitious policies, technological innovations, systems and infrastructures. This will also require changes in individual behaviours, including how we work, heat our homes, travel, consume goods and services, and manage our waste. Delivering this is the responsibility of everyone in society.
The CCAC report highlights that a significantly increased climate mitigation effort is required across the agriculture, land-use, built environment and transport sectors, while also recognising the significant progress already made in decarbonising our electricity generation. The Climate Action Plan 2021 sets out a range of new policies, measures and actions to address these sectors, including enhancing organisational capacity to do so.
The National Development Plan has allocated significantly increased funding to climate action, including public transport and retrofitting over the next decade. Government recognises that climate action will require a targeted balance between Exchequer-supported expenditure, taxation policies and regulation. Private investment will be needed to work alongside public funding to achieve our targets.
The National Dialogue on Climate Action will create a comprehensive support structure for widespread public and stakeholder engagement on climate change, empowering people across all areas of society and the economy to adopt more sustainable behaviours, and participate in all aspects of the transition.
The Government also recognises the need for a renewed focus on adaptation to deal with an increase in extreme weather events, as highlighted by the CCAC. Four Government funded Climate Action Regional Offices are supporting Local Authorities in their adaptation efforts.
The CCAC report also emphasises that it is important to acknowledge that the transition will have a cost and preparations will be required to reduce the impact on the most vulnerable. Building on the successful approach in the Midlands, a Just Transition Commission will be established to further support Government in this area.