Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Finance

Programme for Government

Photo of John Paul PhelanJohn Paul Phelan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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242. To ask the Minister for Finance to provide an update on actions implemented by the Government to deliver on the Programme for Government commitment to “prioritise Green Finance strategic actions that are developed in line with climate justice targets and Sustainable Development Goals"; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28994/24]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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International climate action, including the provision of climate finance, is a key priority for this Government. We have committed publically to increasing the climate finance provided to developing countries to €225 million annually by 2025. A Cross-Departmental Climate Finance Roadmap was published in 2022 setting out pathways as to how this goal may be achieved. Ireland provided €120.8 million in climate finance to developing countries in 2022, an increase of 21% from 2021.

Ireland has an active role in accelerating the sustainable development goals including by providing Climate Finance to developing countries, and by way of our role in the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and the Green Climate Fund.

The Government works to encourage Multilateral Development Banks and International Financial Institutions to enact policies pursuing climate action, including finance and guidance, and to align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees – a goal which is already under severe strain. The financial sector must be heavily involved in the transition to net zero, ensuring there are high levels of investments targeted towards essential low carbon and climate resilient development. Internationally, the sector is increasingly committing to such investments, including by banks, insurers, pension funds, asset managers, etc. Furthermore, advisory and regulatory bodies, including Central Banks, are incorporating climate issues into core business and into supervisory activities.

Regarding green finance, Ireland, acting through the National Treasury Management Agency, has raised approximately €10.8 billion from sovereign green bonds and these fund projects that generate a positive environmental benefit such as Clean Transportation, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Adaptation Projects.

In the banking sector, AIB and Bank of Ireland have both issued green bonds. In September 2023, the ESB raised €500mn issuing a green bond that aligns with the European Union’s Taxonomy for sustainable activities. Irish retail lenders provide Green mortgages, offering lower interest rates to incentivise borrowers purchasing more energy efficient homes. According to a recent report by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) “green” personal loans issued by banks in the Irish market increased by 92 per cent in 2023.

In addition, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) offers the Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme (GSLS) which provides SMEs and Small-Mid-Caps with long-term financing to support them with investing in climate action and environmentally sustainable measures.

This all demonstrates the strength and influence of the EU approach to steering financing towards the green transition. Ireland has been working with the European Commission and our fellow Member States to put in place ambitious and usable regulatory frameworks aimed at growing the sustainable finance sector while ensuring it is well-regulated. These include the EU Taxonomy, the Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation, the Regulation on Environmental, Social and Governance ratings and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.

This Government understands the urgency of climate action and is taking the actions required to respond to the climate crisis, putting climate solutions at the centre of Ireland’s social and economic development.


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