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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
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# Emissions
Oireachtas climate committee votes in favour of approving proposed carbon budgets
The proposed budgets setting out limits on greenhouse gas emissions still need the green-light from government.

MEMBERS OF THE Oireachtas Climate Committee today voted in favour of approving the carbon budget proposals put forward by the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) last year

The proposed carbon budgets set out the maximum amount of greenhouse gases that may be emitted in Ireland during a five-year period, the first covering 2021-2025.

They will also break down the maximum emissions permitted in different sectors, such as transport, during this time. 

The proposals on the carbon budgets were considered by the Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action in a number of discussions last month. A public consultation has also been launched and will run until 8 February. 

After consulting with the public and other ministers, Climate Minister Eamon Ryan has the option to amend the carbon budgets before he presenting them to government. 

Oireachtas committee members today voted on a number of recommendations, including a vote in favour of the proposed carbon budgets. 

The committee has also prepared a report on the carbon budget proposals which is understood to be released in the coming days. 

‘Doing its share on climate action’

A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment said Minister Ryan welcomed the committee’s approval of the budgets, adding that it underlined the “long held approach of achieving political consensus on the need for robust climate action”. 

Darren O’Rourke, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on climate action and transport, said his party supports the carbon budgets as put forward by the CCAC. 

“What we need now is for the state to lead with a plan based on fairness that focuses on improving quality of life and standards of living by supporting workers and families through this transition,” the TD said in a statement. 

Senator Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin spokesperson on climate justice said that that the budgets will “finally set Ireland on a path to start doing its share on climate action”. 

But People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said it was a “major mistake” to vote in favour of the proposed budgets. 

“These budgets do not even comply with the Governments own 7% per [annum] reduction target and that they were premised on huge and unproven future emission cuts from future technological advances,” Smith said.

The CCAC’s proposed budget said that the council “does not believe” that a 7% annual reduction is “appropriate” in the first carbon budget. 

The proposal also said that the carbon budget programme for the next decade “requires immediate action and investment in the first period in order to deliver the accelerated reductions” of more than 7% per year between 2026 and 2030. 

Smith said politicians who voted in favour of supporting the budget proposals “effectively had no answer to the numerous criticisms of the proposals by eminent scientists and campaigners” who addressed the committee recently. 

Last month, the committee heard from scientists, campaigners and trade representatives on Ireland’s plans to cap emissions. 

Presenting the work behind the budgets, UCC Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir said that emissions cuts “will require rapid and sustained economic, social and technological transformation across all sectors of the economy”.

A number of other academics told the Oireachtas committee that the proposals don’t go far enough. 

Professor Barry McMullin from Dublin City University said: “My view is the candidate budgets proposed by the Council should be regarded as absolute maximum and the Committee should give serious consideration to revising them downwards significantly – that is to say, more stringent budgets.” 

Professor Kevin Anderson from the University of Manchester said: “The unprecedented carbon budget challenges Ireland faces today stems in part from its own choice to essentially ignore three decades of clear scientific analysis and advice.”

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