I propose to take Questions Nos. 505, 507 and 508 together.
The Paris Agreement was adopted by Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015. The Agreement is designed to meet its objectives through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by all parties to the Agreement.
Ireland will contribute to the Paris Agreement via the NDC submitted by the EU on behalf of its Member States, which commits the EU to a 40% reduction in EU-wide emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. This commitment for 2030 is based on EU-wide reductions in the Emissions Trading System (ETS) sector of 43%, and the non-ETS sector of 30%.
Ireland's contribution to the overall 30% reduction in the non-ETS sector by 2030, as well as the contributions to be made by other Member States, was negotiated between the EU and its Member States in the context of the European Commission's Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) Proposal. Ireland’s target under the ESR is for a 30% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 on 2005 levels.
Ireland fully supports the first commitment made by the EU under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. With the ambitious 2030 targets agreed at EU level recently for renewable energy and for energy efficiency, coupled with strong ambition in relation to emissions standards for both light and heavy duty vehicles, the EU may reduce its overall emissions by more than the 40% committed to by 2030.
The Paris Agreement also invites Parties to communicate, by 2020, to the UNFCCC Secretariat their respective long-term low greenhouse gas emissions strategies. I welcome the publication by the Commission in November 2018, of its Communication “A Clean Planet for All”, as an essential analytical underpinning for the preparation of an EU Long-Term Strategy for submission to the UNFCCC.
The Commission’s Communication presents a strategic vision, supported by a detailed analysis, on how the EU can contribute to the delivery of the Paris Agreement objectives while enhancing the co-benefits of emission reductions and transforming its economy for the 21st century. My Department is studying the Commission’s proposals and I look forward to engaging with my counterparts in the EU on this matter at the next Environment Council on 5 March.
Each EU Member State will have different ways of achieving the long term emissions reductions set out in the various pathways to 2050, as presented in the Commission Communication. In assessing the potential contribution of EU Member States to meeting an overall EU long-term objective, it will be important to take into account national circumstances and technology constraints, while recognising that technologies are continually developing and becoming more cost-effective. It will also be important to recognise the essential underpinning role of a range of other EU policy objectives as set out in the Commission’s Communication, including the circular economy, the digital agenda and sustainable finance.
The EU has committed to communicate or update its NDC by 2020, and aims to submit its long-term strategy in 2020. The preparation of an EU long-term strategy will also inform, in due course, the development of long-term strategies by individual Member States, including Ireland.