On 17 June 2019, the Government published the Climate Action Plan 2019, which commits, inter alia, to bringing forward a new Climate Action (Amendment) Bill to amend the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.
The objective of the Bill is to significantly strengthen the statutory framework for governance of the climate challenge, and ensure delivery of successive Climate Action Plans and Long-term Climate Strategies, supported by a system of carbon budgeting and sectoral targets with appropriate oversight by Government, the Oireachtas and a new Climate Action Council. The Climate Action Plan identifies a number of provisions to be incorporated in the new Bill including:
- Establishing the 2050 target in law
- Making the adoption of carbon budgets a legal requirement
- Requiring the Government to set a decarbonisation target range for each sector, with the Minister with primary responsibility for each sector identified as being accountable for delivering the relevant actions to meet the sectoral targets
- Establishing the Climate Action Council as a successor organisation to the Climate Change Advisory Council
- Establishing that the Climate Action Plan shall be updated annually
- Establishing that a Long-Term Climate Strategy, to match the period covered by the three five-year carbon budgets, shall be published
- Ensuring that the proposed governance arrangements retain sufficient flexibility to allow necessary reorientation of policy in the light of changing technologies, circumstances, challenges and opportunities over the period to 2030 and beyond.
The General Scheme is currently being prepared on the basis of the provisions outlined above with a view to publication of the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill in quarter 1, 2020 as committed to under the Plan.
In parallel to work on the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill 2019, my Department is also in the process of preparing Ireland’s Long-Term Strategy to meet the requirements set out under Article 15 Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action. This strategy will have a perspective of at least 30 years and shall include a range of emission reduction pathways to further illuminate, in each of our key sectors, what changes will be required.
Alongside the Bill and Long Term Strategy, the Climate Action Plan commits to evaluating in detail the changes required to adopt a more ambitious commitment of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as part of finalising Ireland’s long-term climate strategy. A public consultation has been launched on the Long Term Strategy by my Department. Further details are available on my Department's website.