As Deputies will be aware, in November of 2018 the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment received a mandate from Government to prepare a climate plan which would make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change. Following this, the Government's Climate Action Plan 2019 was published on 17 June, and it outlines an ambitious course of action, setting out how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also to put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Plan represents a significant step-up in ambition, and with a strong focus on implementation the Plan contains over 180 actions, assigning clear timelines and steps to support delivery. The Department of Finance has been assigned lead responsibility for a number of actions, primarily in the area of environmental taxation reform, with a number of measures to be examined as part of Budget 2020.
In preparation of the Plan, officials from my Department have participated in the various cross-Government teams established to undertake analysis of areas of substantial mitigation and adaptation potential, and which have supported the development of the Plan’s actions. Additionally, during the Plan’s development, progress was considered at two meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure at which I attended, and at three meetings of the relevant Senior Officials Group which were attended by Department of Finance officials. Furthermore, updates on the Plan’s progression have been routinely discussed at the Department’s Executive Board and Senior Management Group meetings. As Minister for Finance, I am kept up to date on progress in relation to development of climate initiatives.