The UN Climate Action Summit, which took place on 23 September, was convened by the UN Secretary General to build momentum towards enhanced climate ambition by Parties to the Paris Agreement. This was preceded on Saturday, 21 September, by Youth Climate Summit which was attended by myself and the Minister for Children. Ireland’s national statement to the Climate Action Summit, delivered by the Taoiseach, confirmed that the Government would accept and act upon the advice from the Climate Change Advisory Council in relation to the future of oil and natural gas offshore exploration and recovery. In this regard, it was accepted that the exploration for, and the recovery of, new offshore oil reserves is not compatible with a low carbon transition, and that the exploration for, and extraction of new offshore gas reserves can be consistent with this transition. I will shortly bring proposals to Government to set out the next steps in terms of how this advice is to be implemented.
Ireland also announced that all new revenue raised from carbon tax will be ring-fenced to fund new climate action and the just transition. This just transition will help to protect those most exposed to higher fuel and energy costs and for whom new jobs must be found to shift from carbon-intensive industries. Specific decisions on how additional carbon tax revenue will be used are a matter for the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform in the context of the Budget process.
As part of the preparation for the summit on Youth Engagement and Public Mobilisation, Ireland and the Marshall Irelands jointly sponsored the preparation of the 'Kwon Gesh' (or "Solemn Duty") climate pledge, which invites its signatories to give the younger generation a greater voice in creating climate policy.
Parties to the summit were invited to make new commitments under a number of different themes, include mitigation strategy; resilience and adaptation; climate finance and carbon pricing; social and political drivers; energy transition; resilience and adaptation; nature-based solutions; infrastructure, cities and local government; industry; and youth engagement and public mobilisation. Ireland has confirmed support for a number of initiatives under different themes as set out below.
1. Mitigation Strategy Coalition
Ireland was included on a list of countries and non-Party stakeholders that demonstrated genuine leadership either by having developed plans to achieve net zero CO emissions by 2050, by having identified this target as a long-term national goal or by advancing consultations on a long-term strategy for climate-neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement.
2. Resilience and Adaptation Coalition
- Call for Action: Raising Ambition for Climate Ambition;
- InsuResilience initiative;
- Global Commission on Adaptation Agriculture Food Security initiative;
- Africa Adaptation Initiative;
- LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR)
3. Social and Political Drivers Coalition
- Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Climate Action Initiative
- Health as a political driver for increased climate ambition on climate change
- Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change on Culture and Natural Heritage
- Just Transition and the creation of green jobs for all
4. Energy Transition Coalition
- Decarbonising Shipping: Getting to Zero Coalition
- Three Percent Club for Energy Efficiency
5. Nature-Based Solutions Coalition
- Nature Based Coalition
6. Industry Coalition
- Leadership Group for Industry Transition
7. Youth Engagement and Public Mobilisation Coalition
A full list of the announcements and commitments made at the Climate Summit can be found at www.un.org/climatechange