16 Apr 2019, 11.08

The Joint Committee on Climate Action has today launched its final, cross-party report entitled, ‘Climate Change: A Cross- Party Consensus for Action.’

The report is the culmination of 6 months’ work by the Committee and makes over 40 recommendations on steering Ireland’s approach towards climate action.

Chair of the Committee, Hildegarde Naughton TD, said today: “Climate change is a real and present threat. It is not tomorrow’s problem and can no longer be treated as such. Record-breaking heat and cold, as well as other extreme weather events are on the rise and Ireland is not immune. The Joint Committee on Climate Action is recommending that a series of measures be taken by this and future governments to ensure the safety and prosperity of Irish citizens.”

“This cross-party report is comprehensive and includes keys sectors such as agriculture, transport, energy generation and the built environment. Particularly significant is the recommendation around a new governance structure which will ensure that these recommendations are implemented, as well as elevating climate action to the same level of importance as finance and budgetary matters. This is a fundamental shift in the way in which the State prioritises and addresses climate action.”
Some of the report’s recommendations include:

Governance: The report calls for new legislation, which will set ambitious climate and renewable electricity targets, and which will require five-year carbon budgets to be devised by a new Climate Action Council (which will supersede the existing Climate Change Advisory Council). The new legislation should provide a much stronger framework for the achievement of climate and energy targets and require all public bodies to make climate action a priority.

Carbon pricing: The Committee recommends increasing the existing carbon tax from €20 to at €80 per tonne by 2030 when supports and protection mechanisms are in place, with the increased revenue being ring-fenced separately from general Exchequer funds by legislation.

Energy: Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) should be provided with appropriate levels of support from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, SEAI, the Climate Action Regional Offices, and their local authority. There should be an ambitious national target set by the Climate Action Council for installed SEC capacity by 2025 which may be at least 500MW.

Agriculture, forestry and peatlands:

• The Committee recommends the establishment of a multi-stakeholder forum for developing programmes and schemes to support diversification in agriculture.
• Expand and strengthen the Smart Farming Programme, Dairy Sustainability Ireland, Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme, and Origin Green Programme to improve the environmental performance of farms and increase visibility of these schemes.
• The Government should adopt the 28 measures contained in “a mitigation pathway” produced by Teagasc.
• A target for farm based tree planting with copses of native trees should be set. A target of 5% would increase our low tree cover by 4% and provide environmental benefits and employment opportunities;

Read the report here

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