climate action

'The impact of our actions on the planet is undeniable': Government launches Climate Action Bill

The 30-year programme commits to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

THE GOVERNMENT’S CLIMATE Action Bill, which commits the country to achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2050, has been published today.

The bill would bring in changes to the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said the bill seeks to ensure the government achieves its emissions reduction targets in rolling five-year plans.

The bill also legislates for a Climate Change Advisory Council that will make recommendations on how carbon budgets must be achieved by the various departments such as agriculture and transport.

At a press conference today, the Taoiseach Michéal Martin said that a climate neutral economy is not a meaninglessness ambition.

“No one can doubt the fact that action on climate will lead to many difficult decisions. Moving away from how we do things today, adopting new practices and eliminating damaging activities,” he said.

Martin added:

“The impact of our actions on the planet is undeniable. The science is undisputed. Climate change is happening. And we must act.”

The Taoiseach also told today’s press conference that David Attenborough’s latest documentary shows the seriousness of issue, stating Ryan told Cabinet to watch it.

Ryan said Attenborough is correct, the a nature based solution must be found for the crisis.

The bill published today does not includes a section banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, nor the importation of second-hand petrol and diesel cars from that date.

Such a provision is mentioned in the Programme for Government.

A deputy government press secretary stating:

“The government remains committed to introducing a ban on fossil fuel cars, as set out under the National Development Plan, the 2019 Climate Action Plan, and the Programme for Government.

“However, EU law requires that such a provision is notified to the European Commission in advance of its entry into force, when the legislation remains a proposal. Thus, it risks delaying the enactment of the other provisions in this priority legislation.

“The Department is currently preparing the necessary specific evidential matters to make a case for derogation under EU law, and will continue to engage with the European Commission and the Attorney General’s Office on such matters.”

“We will be leaders not laggards. We start today,” said Ryan.

The Taoiseach also noted: “Thankfully, Ireland does not have a significant movement of people questioning the scientific fact of mankind’s centrality to climate change.”

Also speaking at the event was Minister Ryan, who said: “This cannot be a one government’s process, it has to be for the next five, six governments in a row if this is going to work.”

Under the bill, there is level of oversight, with ministers having to account for their progress yearly, said Ryan.

The minister said it will take the guts of a year to go through the entire process of looking at every sector and determine what they need to do to reduce their emissions. “It will not be an easy process it will require all sectors to change the way that they do business,” he said.

“No one should underestimate the scale of the change… this is not going to be easy or small,” said Ryan, stating that the level of 7% reduction is about the same as has been achieved during Covid-15 pandemic. “The scale of change system change we’re talking about is beyond compare,” said Ryan.

He was keen to state that all these changes must should involve a just transition and social justice, stating that the plan won’t work if some are left behind.

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