Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
43. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the most important steps that can be taken here to address the issue of climate change while at the same time balancing this against economic needs such as the transport and agrifood sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9334/21]
Significant further action is required to meet the climate ambition set out in the Programme for Government, which contains a commitment to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030.
It is the Government's priority to enact the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021, which sets the framework for how we will make fundamental changes to address 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.
Another key step will be the preparation of the next Climate Action Plan, which will set out actions that must be taken across every economic sector to ensure we deliver on our climate commitments. In order to ensure these policy changes support economic and social development as well as employment retention and creation, the strategies to deliver the emissions reductions will require extensive consultation, detailed planning and analysis, organisation and adequate mechanisms for funding and incentives.
With the correct policy choices in the agriculture sector, we can reward farmers for sequestering carbon, restoring biodiversity, improving water and air quality, producing clean energy, and developing schemes that support results-based outcomes. Similarly, policies introducing sustainable mobility can improve quality of living in our towns and cities,with cleaner air less noise and greater access to public transport.
It is crucial that we make structural changes which will break the link between fossil fuels and economic progress. We must embed climate resilience as part of our recovery. It will be important that the increase in climate ambition is achieved in a cost-effective manner balancing considerations of fairness, cost effectiveness and solidarity, ensuring that no one is left behind.