Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (195)

Patricia Ryan


195. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications if a new general obligation on every organ of the State will be implemented to perform functions compatible with the objective of the UNFCCC and the aims of the Paris Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26975/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Ireland's engagement with its EU and international partners takes place through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. Ireland engages in negotiations through its membership of the European Union. In this regard, the EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. The European Commission recently presented its plan to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. It is intended that both the 2030 and 2050 targets will be enshrined in the EU Climate Law. As Minister for Climate Action, I will lead on delivering our shared commitment in the Programme for Government to achieve an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The 2050 target will be set in in the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill, which will be introduced in the Dáil in early October. The Climate Action (Amendment) Bill will build on the existing Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, and provide for a significantly strengthened statutory framework for governance of the climate challenge. The Bill will ensure delivery of successive Climate Action Plans and Long-Term Climate Action Strategies, supported by a system of carbon budgeting and sectoral targets with appropriate oversight by Government, the Oireachtas, and a strengthened Climate Change Advisory Council. The proposed Bill will define how five-year carbon budgets will be set, with every sector contributing, ensuring we continue to work to achieve a broad political and societal consensus on a Just Transition to a sustainable future for all communities. The 2015 Act provides for a voluntary contribution to be made from Local Government on climate action; the proposed Bill will establish a clear requirement on Local Authorities to develop and publish Climate Action Plans.

My Department is reviewing the suite of actions recommended and required of the public sector to be a leader in addressing climate change. To this end, we are preparing a strategy for a cohesive approach to management, delivery and engagement across the Public Sector Framework for Climate Action. This approach will seek to ensure that the changes made and actions recommended under the Climate Action Plan and in the Programme for Government deliver impact under the targets committed to, support long term change, and are operational across the system.

The actions we are taking should be demonstrably linked to delivering the targets committed to. They should primarily focus on delivering and underpinning the 50% decarbonisation target by 2030 for the public sector. In this context, Government is addressing the issue of ensuring that the climate impact of all policy matters being taken to Government is considered. This will ensure that Climate Action becomes embedded across all levels of Government activities.