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File image of steam billowing from an Irish waste incinerator. Alamy Stock Photo
Climate Neutrality

Public consultation launched on long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said ‘citizen engagement must be at the centre’ of this strategy.

A PUBLIC CONSULTATION has been launched on Ireland’s long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The current strategy was published late last month following Government approval and it sets out measures to be taken after 2030 in order to achieve climate neutrality for Ireland by 2050.

It includes provision for a 51% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 2018 levels, and a legally-binding national 2050 climate neutrality target.

“Climate neutrality” relates to the aim of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, while also compensating for any remaining emissions.

The aim is for greenhouse gas to be equal, or less than, the emissions that get removed through the planet’s natural absorption.

The public consultation is open for submissions until 30 June and further information on how to take part in the consultation can be found here.

A spokesperson from the Department of the Environment and Climate said the updated strategy will “provide a vital link between Ireland’s 2030 climate targets and the long-term goal set by Ireland’s ‘National Climate Objective’ and the European Climate Law.”

Ireland’s ‘National Climate Objective’ requires the State to “pursue and achieve, by no later than the end of the year 2050, the transition to a climate-resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally sustainable and climate-neutral economy”.

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said: “In line with the Paris Agreement (temperature) targets, we are committed to achieving a climate neutral economy by no later than 2050. 

This commitment has been established in Irish law, under our national Climate Act, which aligns with the EU climate law.

“Our long-term strategy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions will map out the pathway over the next 30 years to reach climate neutrality.”

He added that “climate change is causing widespread and increasingly irreversible losses and damages”.

Ryan also noted the latest World Meteorological Organisation report which found that hottest year on record is highly likely to come within the next five years.

“We have a rapidly closing window of opportunity to maintain a liveable and sustainable future for all,” said Ryan.

While the Environment Minister acknowledged that “making the changes we have to will not be easy”.

However, he added: “I believe that Ireland can and will be good at taking climate action that protects us firstly from the impact of climate change already here, like flooding or extreme heat, and ensures that we can continue to thrive as an economy and as a society – making homes warmer and more efficient with new green energy sources, creating new jobs and ensuring that our agricultural sector is viable and sustainable for example. 

Ryan also said that “citizen engagement must be at the centre of this”.

“While the current strategy has been shaped by responses received to an extensive public consultation in 2019, said Ryan, “in light of important climate policy developments since then I am launching a second, further public consultation as the basis for preparing an updated strategy.”

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