Minister Bruton on 2018 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. today (Thursday the 24th of October) said:

The outcome for 2018 as reported by the EPA reinforces the importance of implementing the Climate Action Plan. Ireland has drifted off target and we must implement a decisive policy shift each year, every year. The 2020 Budget has been an important watershed.

Earlier this year, the government published the Climate Action Plan, which sets out the actions we need to take to ensure we meet our 2030 climate commitments, putting us on a trajectory to be net zero by 2050. I welcome the EPA’s support today for our Plan, which is our roadmap forward, to decarbonise and secure a sustainable, more resilient Ireland for future generations.

While the EPA’s statement today shows that emissions have fallen for a second year in a row, the decrease is too small and driven by temporary occurrences – primarily the temporary closure of Moneypoint.  We still saw an increase in emissions from households, transport, and agriculture last year.

The figures released today reflect the position prior to the publication of the Climate Action Plan. I note the EPA’s comments today calling for the swift implementation of the Plan. This is our pathway forward and today’s results underline the urgency of implementing the actions in the Plan across government. We have a brief opportunity to act and we must act now. The government is determined to deliver.

The Climate Action Plan is the government’s plan to ensure Ireland reaches our 2030 climate targets, putting us on a trajectory to be net zero emissions by 2050. The far-reaching plan sets out over 180 actions, together with hundreds of sub-actions across every sector of society. Under the plan, we will deliver by 2030:

  • 5 Times the amount of renewables connected to the grid
  • Full exit from coal and peat for electricity generation
  • 10 Times Retrofit Activity
  • 25 Times Current Electric Vehicle Uptake
  • 5 Times Sustainable Energy Communities
  • 500,000 Extra daily active / public commutes
  • 440 Million Extra Trees by 2040

Key Actions in the Climate Action Plan include:

  • Eliminate non-recyclable plastic and impose higher fees on the production of materials which are difficult to recycle, implement measures to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds
  • Establish a new Microgeneration Scheme, allowing homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell what they don’t use back to the national grid
  • Move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030, currently only 30% of our electricity comes from renewable sources
  • Bring 950,000 electric vehicles onto our roads, deliver a nationwide charging network, an electric vehicle scrappage scheme and legislation to ban the sale of petrol / diesel cars from 2030
  • Expand our network of cycling paths and “Park and Ride” facilities, helping ease congestion
  • Deliver an intensive programme of retrofitting to install 600,000 heat pumps in homes and businesses, replacing the existing carbon-intensive heating systems
  • Establish a system of 5 year carbon budgets and sector targets, with the relevant Minister responsible for delivering on the target, with penalties if they are not met. These targets will be underpinned by a new Climate Action Act. All major government investments and decisions will be carbon-proofed
  • Deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture by creating new, sustainable opportunities for family farms
  • Deliver a new Retrofit Plan to retrofit 500,000 homes, with large groups of houses being retrofitted by the same contractor to reduce costs, smart finance, and easy pay back methods

Every public body will be given a climate action mandate by their line Minister to prioritise climate action and new letters of expectation will issue to semi-state bodies on Climate Action.

Press release also available here

Initial Response to Budget 2020

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe has now presented Budget 2020. Prior to this,, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, sought 10% of the Land Transport capital investment to be allocated to cycling. This was in accordance with the Dáil vote last January, the report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change and the All of Government Climate Plan 2019. The reasons have been fully detailed in our Budget Submission 2020 and include climate change, congestion, health, pollution and sustainability. notes that the government has allocated €1942 Million to the Land Transport capital budget and is perplexed that Minister Donohoe has announced only €9 Million for sustainable mobility. How much has been allocated to cycling? When will the government target on cycling be achieved? Either the government is unaware that there is a climate emergency or else they are releasing the good news in bite sizes.

Therefore, we await with interest from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport details of:

  • The allocation for Improvements and Maintenance of Roads (ref B3)
  • The Allocation for Public and Sustainable Transport (ref B8)
  • Proposed grants for E-Bikes for reasons outlined in our pre-budget submission

As the saying goes: Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are. We shall soon see where this government’s priorities are and if they are the same old, same old …