What's being done?
Under the first Kyoto Protocol, Ireland committed to restrict greenhouse gas emissions growth to an increase of 13% over the 1990 baseline levels within the 2008-2012 periods. During the second Kyoto Protocol commitment period, Parties, including Ireland, committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020. After the Paris Agreement in 2016 all EU member states are committed to a reduction in emissions of 40% of 1990 levels by 2030. Here in Ireland, we are not on track to meeting our targets, as the graph below shows. Ireland is in fact, projected to cumulatively exceed its compliance obligations, over the period of 2013- 2020, by approximately 10.3 Mt CO2 equivalent under the 'With Existing Measures' scenario and 9.2 Mt CO2 equivalent under the 'With Additional Measures' scenario.
In 2007 the Department of Environment Heritage and Local Government published the second National Climate Change Strategy outlining the key objectives for reductions in greenhouse gases across the energy, transport, industrial, agriculture, forestry and built environment sectors between 2007 and 2012.
In 2012 the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework was launched, providing a strategic policy focus to ensure adaptation measures are taken across different sectors and levels of government to reduce Ireland's vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change. This was bolstered by the Climate Change Bill 2013, whose aim is to ensure that the State's net carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline. Further support comes from the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015, whose purpose is to pursue the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by the year 2050.
A number of national reports have recently been published that include a range of cross sectoral policies and actions to keep Ireland in line with the Paris Agreement targets. These reports include the National Mitigation Plan, published in 2017, which incorporates the Governments shared approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and Ireland’s Draft National Energy and Climate Plan, which was submitted to the European Commission in 2018 and focused on policy measures specific to climate and energy. Most recently, the 2019 Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown has been released which sets a course towards ambitious decarbonisation targets and outlines the scale of the challenge by addressing the current state of play in multiple sectors.
The plans first quarterly progress report, which has just been published (November, 2019), demonstrates the robust delivery with regards to its outlined actions and their responsible actors. Out of the 176 measures, 149 have been completed or are on schedule and 27 are delayed. This gives an overall completion rate of 85% for the first progress report of the Climate Action Plan 2019 (DCCAE, 2019). To see more details on this progress please click here.
Partnership between government departments, business, industry and the community is required if Ireland is to achieve these goals.
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