Last week, the Government published our Climate Action Plan 2021 – an important milestone for our country and for our planet.

This Plan is the roadmap for achieving our ambitions to halve our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 – a target we set down in law in July of this year when we passed the Climate Action Act.

Cutting our emissions will help to protect people’s futures and bring about many benefits to our economy and society. By delivering this Plan, we will enjoy warmer homes that are cheaper to heat, cleaner air and water, and improved public transport that is more reliable, more frequent and more accessible. We’ll have less congestion on our roads, greater biodiversity and a healthier population. We’ll do this ensuring a just transition, and support our farmers to have a viable future with an even lower carbon footprint, and create tens of thousands of new jobs in new areas such as retrofitting homes and buildings and off-shore wind energy.

How does it work?

The Plan has been built with input from all sectors, including 3,800 citizens who participated in consultations, which I believe makes it stronger and more credible than any previous plan. Our success will be constantly reviewed and the Plan updated annually, to ensure we stay on track to achieving our targets.

Our national emissions targets have been broken down and divided between different Government Departments and sectors. The Plan currently includes sectoral ranges, which each Department will take away and propose how they aim to achieve emissions reductions within the assigned range. This will then come back to Government for agreement next year. This is a whole-of-Government commitment, which will require radical changes across every aspect of our economy and society. These changes will not be easy to make, but they are necessary, and so the Government will step in to provide support to people, or sectors, which are affected to help make a just transition to a low carbon economy possible.

Some of the key commitments in the Plan include:

  • to increase the proportion of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030
  • support scheme for micro-generation allowing homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell what they don’t use back to the national grid
  • 500,000 extra walking, cycling and public transport journeys per day by 2030
  • 1500 electric buses by 2030
  • 10% reduction on fossil fuelled car journeys
  • to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030 and install 680,000 renewable energy heat sources in both new and existing residential buildings.

Achieving this will be challenging, but I and my Green Party colleagues will continue to be a strong voice in government for climate action, and ensure Ireland leads the way in responding to the climate emergency.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Climate Action Plan, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. You’ll find the Plan and an explanatory infographic booklet here.