I attended the Environment Council meeting in Luxembourg on 26 June 2019 where, together with my environment ministerial colleagues, including Therese Coffey, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, we discussed the EU Long Term Strategy and EU ambition for carbon neutrality. At this meeting I confirmed Ireland’s support for increased climate ambition and the adoption of a net zero target by 2050 at EU level, including in the context of the importance of the EU reaffirming its role as a global leader in relation to ambitious climate action, and also in view of the upcoming UN Climate Summit in September 2019.
I recently published the Climate Action Plan 2019 which sets out for the first time how Ireland will reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The transition to climate neutral economy will present both challenges and opportunities, and require additional changes across all sectors of the economy. Under the new Climate Action Plan I have committed to evaluate in detail the changes that would be necessary in pursuit of this objective at a national level.
Under the Plan, I have also committed to bring forward a new Climate Action (Amendment) Bill which will make the adoption of carbon budgets a legal requirement, require the Government to set a decarbonisation target range for each sector over five year periods, and establish a 2050 target in law.