Ireland sets out plans to become carbon-neutral by 2050

The Irish Parliament has approved a law which aims to get the country to carbon neutrality by 2050 starting with a 51 per cent reduction by 2030 using 2018 as a baseline.

The new ruling was spearheaded by the Green Party and will see the government seek views from climate scientists, experts and industry to help support development of the plan.

It will also launch a major public consultation so that households and communities can give their views on what the government can do to further support them as part of Ireland’s path to net zero.

The commitment comes two years after the UK became the first country to pass legislation committing it to the same 2050 target.

Ireland’s emissions have fallen by 4 and 6 per cent in the past two years, but it will need to increase this to at least 7 per cent annually to ensure the 51 per cent reduction by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.

In a press release, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications said: “There is no doubt that during the pandemic our capacity to deliver on a range of activities was challenged.

“We continued to implement the 2019 Climate Action Plan across Government Departments and over the lifetime of the Plan, succeeded in delivering on 78 per cent of the actions.”

The new bill makes a number of political changes including strengthening the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council by enabling it to propose carbon budgets to the environment minister.

All forms of greenhouse gas emissions including biogenic methane will be included in the carbon budgets although the government has yet to decide on the trajectories for different sectors, which will eventually be detailed in the annually update Climate Action Plan.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “This is a landmark day for Ireland. We all know that climate change is already happening, and the time to act is now.

“The Bill we are publishing today affirms our ambition to be a global leader in this field. As we begin our journey towards net zero emissions, the government is committed to tackling the challenges, and embracing the opportunities, this transition can bring our economy, our society and our country.

“We must continue to act, across government, as there is no time to waste when it comes to securing our future.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must ensure that the road to recovery is a sustainable one. I am confident that the decarbonisation of the economy will present significant opportunities for Irish business, for trade and for new employment.”

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