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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (79)

Bernard Durkan


79. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the progress to date in achieving emission reduction targets in line with the Programme for Government whilst at the same time protecting economic progress in the agri-food business or other sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61426/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Climate ambition in the Programme for Government has been placed on a statutory footing through the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021, which was signed into law in July of this year. The Act commits Ireland to achieve a climate neutral economy by no later than 2050, and provides for a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2018 levels.

The significantly strengthened legally binding framework under the Act with clear targets and commitments set in law, including embedding a process of carbon budgeting and sectoral emissions ceilings, will help ensure that Ireland achieves its climate goals and obligations in the near and long-term. Establishing these requirements in legislation places a clear obligation on this and future governments for sustained climate action.

In order to deliver upon this ambition, the Government published Climate Action Plan 2021 in November 2021, which identifies the actions necessary to achieve our emissions reductions targets. The Plan sets out indicative ranges of emissions reductions for each sector of the economy based on their respective starting points, and the relative difficulty, cost, speed, and benefits, of reducing emissions. All sectors, including agriculture will reduce emissions by an ambitious and achievable percentage, each playing a vital role in meeting our targets.

The plan builds on the significant progress made since CAP 2019, in particular in the areas of climate governance, renewable electricity, ensuring a just transition, the development of a National Residential Retrofit Plan and the increasing levels of bio-fuels in the transport sector. The National Development Plan has allocated significantly increased funding to climate action, including public transport and retrofitting over the next decade.

With regard to the agriculture sector, the core measures outlined in the Climate Action Plan 2021 include efficiencies across the agriculture sector and diversification measures, including increasing organic production and the production of biomethane. Further measures will be required to meet the targets set for this sector and include the introduction of a model for carbon farming, exploring feed-related methane reduction solutions, and conducting a diversification review which will include an assessment on the wider production of biomethane. The Government is committed to finding the balance between environmental, climate and biodiversity needs, and supports for farmers.

Failure to rapidly decarbonise our 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. Embracing the transition will support further job creation through the development of new and emerging sectors.