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Carbon budgets proposed to cut Irish emissions by 51% by 2030

The Climate Change Advisory Council signed off on two five-year budgets as part of the strategy to make Ireland carbon neutral by 2050.

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The target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is 51% by 2030 (Danny Lawson/PA)

The target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is 51% by 2030 (Danny Lawson/PA)

The target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is 51% by 2030 (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council has outlined proposals to cut emissions by more than 50% by the end of the decade.

The independent group that advises the Government on its climate policy has signed off on two five-year carbon budget plans to achieve a 51% reduction by 2030.

The budgets are part of the long-term strategy to make Ireland carbon neutral by 2050.

The plans are now set to be brought to cabinet by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

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Environment Minister Eamon Ryan will bring the carbon budget proposals to cabinet (PA)

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan will bring the carbon budget proposals to cabinet (PA)

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan will bring the carbon budget proposals to cabinet (PA)

If cabinet and Oireachtas approval is secured, Mr Ryan will then work with other ministers to decide how each sector of the economy, such as agriculture and energy, will collectively contribute to the overall reduction goals, setting emission ceilings for each one.

The blueprints cover the periods 2021 to 25 and 2026 to 2030.

The target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is lower in the first period – 4.8% per year – than in the second period – 8.3% per year.

The council explained that the first budget target reflected that time was needed to make decisions and roll out policies that cut emissions.

It also noted that the first full year of the period was almost over.

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The carbon budgets provide a framework, but what is urgently required is transformative change which is led by all of Government on a sustained basis, supported by all sectors of the economy, and all members of societyCouncil chairwoman Marie Donnelly

Marie Donnelly, chairwoman of the council, said urgent and transformative change was required if Ireland was to meet its targets.

“The proposed carbon budgets will have an impact on society and the economy but allow us to act on climate change in a planned and organised way,” she said.

“The budget is based on the best available science and defines an appropriate and necessary path to addressing the climate challenge. Many of the changes required now will only have a real impact on emissions in the second period.

“Now is the time to put policies and supports in place that will help those people, communities and businesses that will be impacted by the significant changes we need to make to how we live, work and travel.

“The carbon budgets provide a framework, but what is urgently required is transformative change which is led by all of Government on a sustained basis, supported by all sectors of the economy, and all members of society. This will require significant investment across the economy.”

Minister Ryan said the carbon budgets were a “significant milestone” in Ireland’s efforts to tackle climate change.

“The Government will shortly publish Climate Action Plan 2021,” he said.

“Every sector of the economy will need to play its part.

“There will be different targets for each sector, based on their respective starting points and the relative difficulty, cost, speed and benefits of reducing emissions.

“This will be challenging and will require fundamental changes in many parts of Irish life, but it is also an opportunity to create a cleaner, greener economy and society that cuts emissions, creates jobs and protects our people and the planet.”

However, Irish Farmers’ Association President Tim Cullinan said the reductions would have “serious repercussions” for farming.

“For most people, climate action will impact on their lifestyle,” he said.

“For farmers, it will impact on our livelihoods,” he said.

“It’s also important to realise that increases in the cost of energy and transport fuel are already impacting on the viability of farms and rural businesses.

“The Government must now engage in meaningful negotiation with farmers to make a plan for the sector that can contribute to emissions reduction, but which does not impact on farmer’s livelihoods.

“In addition, proper funding must be in place to help farmers implement climate action measures.

“The frustration for farmers is that they know that if less food is produced in Ireland, it will be produced elsewhere, with a higher carbon footprint.”


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