Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ceisteanna (783, 784)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

783. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of decarbonising the national transport system in order to reach the sectoral targets for the total 2020 and 2030 EU emission reduction targets and the 2050 emission reduction targets of the State by each NTA sector in tabular form. [23727/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

784. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the emission reduction targets for decarbonising the national transport system by 2030 and 2050. [23728/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 783 and 784 together.

The 2014 National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development established the ambitious objective of achieving a competitive, low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. The National Policy Position outlined a national target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 across the electricity generation, built environment and transport sectors. The National Mitigation Plan, published in 2017, set Ireland on a pathway towards achieving the 2050 decarbonisation target. The Plan included over 100 emissions-reducing actions that were underway or planned, including a range of transport measures, and it set out the potential emissions impact and the estimated costs of many of the actions. The National Mitigation Plan initiated the process of developing medium to long term mitigation choices for the next and future decades.

My colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment is now at an advanced stage in preparing a follow-on plan that will map out a whole-of-Government approach to Climate Action and meeting Ireland's emissions commitments. My Department is working closely with his Department and across Government to ensure that the transport sector, which accounts for about 20% of Ireland overall carbon emissions (and about 27% of Ireland's accountable emissions in the non-ETS (emissions trading scheme) area), plays a key role in the overall Government approach to tackling climate commitments. My Department has worked hard to develop an ambitious, challenging and wide-ranging set of actions, particularly for public transport and active travel. The new Plan will be considered by Government shortly and then published. It will set out the situation across the various sectors, including transport, for delivering on the future emissions reduction targets.

The Deputy will be aware of our work to reduce the emissions from public transport. From next month, no diesel-only buses will be purchased for the urban PSO bus fleet and work has also been underway to trial and compare various options for low carbon alternatively-fuelled buses on Irish bus routes. Of course, less than 5% of Ireland's transport-derived carbon dioxide emissions arise from public transport, so efforts to "green" the fleet - though important in leadership terms - will have only a limited impact in reducing emissions. A critical area of challenge when looking at transport emissions is in targeting the 52% of emissions that come from private car use. This is where public transport and active travel offer real benefits in environmental terms: through expanding their capacity we can facilitate a shift from private car to public transport. Under Project Ireland 2040, we are investing €8.6 billion in Ireland's public transport system. We want to make public transport and active travel a viable alternative for more people for more of their journeys. Our substantial investment will be used to support the MetroLink, BusConnects and the DART Expansion Programme amongst other important projects. In fact, the NDP budget for new public transport/active travel projects is well above what we will be investing in new roads, which is a reversal of the balance of investment between these two areas in the past.