Tuesday, 14 December 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
68. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the State is on track to meet the carbon reduction targets set out in the Programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61413/21]
The Climate ambition in the Programme for Government has been placed on a statutory footing through the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021, which was signed into law in July of this year. The Act commits Ireland to achieve a climate neutral economy by no later than 2050, and provides for a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2018 levels.
The significantly strengthened legally binding framework under the Act with clear targets and commitments set in law, including embedding a process of carbon budgeting and sectoral emissions ceilings, will help ensure that Ireland achieves its climate goals and obligations in the near and long-term. Establishing these requirements in legislation places a clear obligation on this and future governments for sustained climate action.
At 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. The 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. Our EU target is expected to increase through the European Commission's 'Fit for 55' package.
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. The plan provides a detailed roadmap for meeting our climate ambition under the Act and sets out indicative ranges of emissions reductions for each sector of the economy. These ranges will become specific ceilings in the Climate Action Plan 2022, following the legal adoption of carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings.
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. To ensure greater scrutiny and accountability is provided, relevant Ministers will be required to give account to an Oireachtas Committee on progress in implementing the Climate Action Plan and adhering to the sector's emission ceiling for the associated carbon budget period.