I thank the Deputy for raising this important issue. The new Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill will, on enactment, require the Government to adopt a series of economy-wide carbon budgets on a rolling 15-year basis, starting in this year. These economy-wide budgets will then be translated into specific targets for each relevant sector. Ministers will be responsible for achieving the legally binding targets for their own sectoral area, with each Minister accounting for their performance towards sectoral targets and actions before an Oireachtas committee each year. It will be the responsibility of each Minister to ensure that their Department's priorities and spending allocations are aligned with the emissions ceilings in their sectors.
The role that I and my Department will play in this process is twofold. First, in the consultation under way as part of the development of the next climate action plan, I have committed that I will develop a methodology to ensure that any compliance costs that arise from a failure to reach climate and energy targets will be borne by the sector responsible for this failure.
Second, I have committed to the progressive implementation of green budgeting in Ireland. This means the budgetary process will be used to promote the achievement of improved environmental outcomes. This is in parallel with other reforms to the budgetary process on well-being, gender and inequality, which are intended to improve the outcomes in these areas.
My Department has developed and published a methodology for identifying expenditure that is having a positive impact on Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions. Identifying the quantum of Government spending dedicated to addressing climate change is a necessary first step in assessing the effectiveness of this expenditure against climate and environmental goals. Ireland chairs the OECD Paris Collaborative on Green Budgeting and the specific green budgeting reforms that I will implement will be guided by the emerging international best practice from this and other groups.
Additional information not provided on the floor of the House.
On the review of the national development plan, my Department published the phase 1 report of the review on 4 April. As noted in this report, Departments are required to assess every spending proposal against a range of environmental outcomes. The aim of this is to ensure that our public investment priorities are aligned with Ireland’s climate and environmental objectives. It is important to note that all projects included in the plan will be subject to the detailed rigour of the public spending code, which is updated regularly to reflect lessons learned and international good practice. The phase 1 report also sets out the ongoing body of work under way in my Department to strengthen the environmental and climate factors underpinning the code. In particular, I anticipate altering the shadow cost of carbon that applies to all projects once the higher targets envisaged in the draft climate action Bill are adopted. This will ensure that the amount of emissions a project may give rise to is quantified, and a value placed on those emissions that reflects the cost that society will have to bear to eliminate these emissions in the future. I aim to finalise and publish the new national development plan by July 2021.