The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 has been signed into law committing Ireland to 2030 and 2050 targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and providing the governance framework. The country is now on a legally binding path to net-zero emissions no later than 2050, and to a 51% reduction in emissions by the end of this decade. The Climate Action Plan 2021 will be published in early autumn and will set out the measures to be taken to reach national climate targets in each sector of the economy.
Key highlights of the Act are as follows:
- A national climate objective is to pursue and achieve no later than 2050, the transition to a climate resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally-sustainable and climate-neutral economy
- The first two five-year carbon budgets proposed by the Climate Change Advisory Council should equate to a total reduction of 51% over the period to 2030, relative to a baseline of 2018
- The role of the Climate Change Advisory Council has been strengthened.
- The Government must adopt carbon budgets that are consistent with the Paris agreement and other international obligations.
- The Government will determine, following consultation, how to apply the carbon budget across the relevant sectors, and what each sector will contribute in a given five-year period
- Actions for each sector will be detailed in the Climate Action Plan which must be updated annually
- Government Ministers will be responsible for achieving the legally-binding targets for their own sectoral area with each Minister accounting for their performance towards sectoral targets and actions before an Oireachtas Committee each year
- Local Authorities must prepare individual Climate Action Plans which will include both mitigation and adaptation measures and will be updated every five years. Local Authority Development Plans must be aligned with their Climate Action Plan
Public Bodies will be obliged to take account of Climate Action Plans in the performance of their functions