The Climate Action Plan 2021, published on 4 November, follows the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Acts 2015 to 2021 (the Acts), and commits Ireland to a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050, and to reducing emissions by 51% by 2030, compared to 2018 levels.
To underpin the achievement of our climate ambition in the near and long-term, the Acts establish a legally binding framework with clear targets and commitments, and ensure the necessary structures and processes, including carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings, are embedded on a statutory basis. Putting these requirements in legislation places a clear obligation on this and future governments for sustained climate action.
Monitoring of compliance with national and sectoral progress towards each carbon budget and sectoral emissions ceiling will be informed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual inventory and projection reports, as well as the Climate Change Advisory Council’s (CCAC) annual review report. To ensure greater scrutiny and accountability is provided, relevant Ministers will be required to give account to an Oireachtas Committee on performance, both in implementing Climate Action Plan actions and in adhering to their sector’s emissions ceilings under the carbon budget. Where Ministers are not in compliance with the targets, they will need to outline what corrective measures are envisaged.
At an EU level, the EU Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) sets binding emission reduction targets for Member States for the period 2021-2030. The current target for Ireland is a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Climate Action Plan 2019 set out the policies and measures that Ireland must take to meet this target and avoid any costs arising from not meeting the target. The recently published Climate Action Plan 2021 sets out the practical measures that we need to take to meet a higher-level ambition of reducing our emissions by 51% versus 2018 levels.