I thank Deputy Bruton. With the 2030 Climate Target Plan and EU climate law, the EU will raise its ambition on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030. This is a substantial increase compared to the existing 40% emissions reduction cut. The Commission is preparing to present by July 2021 an overhaul of all relevant climate legislation as part of a what is called a Fit for 55 Package to align with the newly proposed target.
Ireland fully supports the enhanced ambition at EU level. It is consistent with the national approach, as the programme for Government commits to achieve net zero emissions by no later than 2050, and a 51% emissions reduction by 2030.
However, in the absence of the Commission’s proposals, it is not possible yet to analyse the potential impact on Ireland in terms of technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness and fairness. Ireland has agreed with other member states that the Commission should swiftly put forward its legislative package, together with an in-depth examination of the environmental, economic and social impact at member state level.
It will be important that the updated EU 2030 target of at least 55% is delivered collectively by the EU in the most cost-effective manner possible, balancing considerations of fairness, cost effectiveness and solidarity, and ensuring that no one is left behind.
If I may refer to one further specific issue which has been debated at length at the Council meetings which is the issue of whether the ETS would be extended, particularly into the areas of heating and transport. I am interested to hear the Deputy's own views but my own perspective, which I have shared with the European Council, is that particularly in our country with the commitment which is now legal to increase carbon tax, year in and year out until 2032 to a level of €100 a tonne, a change in the ETS in the transport area would have significant knock-on and difficult consequences for us. That is not an initiative that I will be supporting within the Fit for 55 Package negotiations process.