The Government has published its long-awaited Climate Action Plan, which has been released a month later than expected, proposes how far each sector of society must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to cut them in half overall by the end of the decade.
The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gases by 51% by the year 2030. The programme will cost approximately €125 billion, with a combination of public and private sector investment.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has described it as a “significant moment”. The plan itself is over 200 pages, which lists the range of emission reductions for multiple sectors.
These will be laid out next year after the Oireachtas passes a Carbon Budget. Mr Martin states: “We will of course debate the various elements of our plan, but on the requirement of urgent action, there is no debate on this matter. Failure to act now is not an option.
Solar & Wind energy
The Climate Action Plan seeks to cut electricity emissions between 62%-81%. It states that there will be a phasing our of coal and peat-fired electricity generation. In addition, it will increase wind and solar energy generation by 80% by the end of the decade.
Homeowners, farmers, businesses, and communities will be able to avail of support schemes to help them generate their own electricity and sell any over supply back to the public grid. The decarbonisation pathway for the electricity sector will be challenging given the rapid growth and strain on the energy grid now, in addition to ensuring the security of supply.
Housing & Electric Vehicles
The emissions that come from buildings has been targeted to be reduced by 44%-56%, which is to happen through measures such as retrofitting homes through a new National Retrofitting Plan. Low-cost loans will be blended with SEAI grants to make retrofitting more affordable, it states. Furthermore, the plan seeks to phase out fossil fuels for “space and water heating in all new buildings”.
The plan envisages a cut in transport between 42% and 50%. These measures include increasing the usage of electric vehicles, if the plan is successful, 845,000 electric passenger vehicles would be on the road by 2030, as well as 95,000 electric vehicles, 3,500 low-emission trucks and 1,500 electric buses.
The agriculture sector has been tasked with reducing their emissions by 22%-30%. To meet this target, the plan calls for an improvement in animal breeding and feeding practices.
The plan calls for emissions in the dairy herd to be “managed” and for a transformation in the model of beef production. In addition to big reductions in the use of chemical nitrogen fertilisers. When asked about the issue of herd sizes on farms, the Taoiseach responded: “The government will work with farmers to secure even more efficiencies. The main objective is reducing emissions – not cattle.
Overall, the plans are very ambitious by the Government of Ireland, whether these goals will be met will be determined in the future. But it wouldn’t be the first time Ireland has failed to reach its environmental targets. Time will tell.
BBC News, (2021). “Climate Changes: Irish government lays out Climate Action Plan” BBC News. Date Accessed: 05.11.21. Read full article here: Climate change: Irish government lays out Climate Action Plan – BBC News © Copyright BBC News
Boland, L, (2021). “The Government’s long-awaited Climate Action Plan is out – here’s what’s in it”. Thejournal.ie. Date Accessed: 05.11.21. Read full article here: The Government’s long-awaited Climate Action Plan is out – here’s what’s in it (thejournal.ie) © Copyright The Journal
Cunningham, P (2021). “Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions published” RTE News. Date Accessed: 05.11.21. Read full article here: Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions published (rte.ie) © Copyright RTE
Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, (2021). “Climate Action Plan 2021: Securing our Future”. Date published: 04.11.21 Published by: The Government of Ireland. © Copyright Government of Ireland