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Ireland’s first carbon budget is due in two weeks

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Ireland’s first carbon budget is due in two weeks

Ireland’s first carbon budget is due in two weeks
September 16
10:00 2021

Here’s what you need to know about Ireland’s first ever carbon budget

Ireland’s first ever carbon budget is due out in the next fortnight. The revised National Development Plan will follow the carbon budget at the end of this month and the new Climate Action Plan is due on 4 October.

Minister for Climate, Eamon Ryan said: “The next month or two are going to be the most critical months in addressing the ecological crisis which we as a party have been warning about for four decades.”

The carbon budget

The carbon budget will put limits on the carbon emissions of key sectors of the Irish economy. It is a part of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act (Amendment) 2021, which replaces the 2015 Climate Act.

The enhanced Climate Change Advisory Council are the ones drawing up the budget while the Minister for Environment and Climate along with other relevant ministers must then develop a “sectoral emissions ceiling” for each sector.

The budget will be brought to cabinet for finalisation and then the Dáil for its approval. After that, Ryan will propose to cabinet how each sector of the Irish economy will be required to reduce their emissions to achieve the overall national target.

Currently Ireland is one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gases per capita in the European Union.

The budget is expected to have the greatest impact on the transport and agriculture sectors, between them they are responsible for more than half of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other areas to be looked at include electricity, building and power systems. The council verdict on what carbon limits should apply to what sector over the next five years will inform the climate action plan and the 2022 budget.

Changes to agriculture sector

The agriculture sector in Ireland is expected to face radical changes, in part due to a revised EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which will include new payments to farmers for environmental services. Farmers will also see changes from the ‘climate-proofed’ national development plan.

Ryan told reporters that super-junior minister Pippa Hackett would be “changing every single farm in this country” because of the carbon budget, the climate action plan and reforms to the CAP.

He said he thought a particular challenge would be the complex issue of land use, which was a source of four million tonnes of CO2, when it needed to be a carbon sink – especially as forestry’s capacity to act as a sink would decrease in the short-term due to harvesting.

Changes to the transport sector

Minister for Climate, Eamon Ryan said he believed that transport, not agriculture, would present the biggest challenge to the state.

Transport emits 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year. This needs to be cut in half by 2030.

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action has already called for a review of all planned road construction projects with a view to reallocating funding to sustainable transport schemes.

The Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan is due out in the first week of October. It commits to a 51 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 compared to 2018 levels. Under the plan, Ireland will become a “climate neutral economy and resilient society by 2050.”

Source: Buzz.ie

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