Ireland is now on a legally binding path to net zero no later than 2050, and to a 51% reduction in emissions by the end of this decade.
The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021, which was signed into law on 23 July, provides the framework for Ireland to meet its commitments and to become a leader in addressing climate change.
The Act embeds the process of setting emissions reductions targets in law and mandates that 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.
, Following consultation, the government will determine 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 a Climate Action Plan, the first of which will be published in the autumn and must be updated annually.
The next stage of the process will be the preparation of regulations on carbon accounting. This will be followed by the production of carbon budgets by the Climate Change Advisory Council. These Carbon Budgets will be presented to the Oireachtas and approved by the Government. The Government will then set sectoral emissions ceilings determining how each sector of the economy will contribute to the achievement of the Budgets.
The Climate Action Plan 2021 will be published in early autumn. This will set out the measures to be taken to reach targets in each sector of the economy.
GridBeyond’s Managing Director UK & Ireland, Mark Davis said:
“The Act presents a much clearer roadmap for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but it remains to be seen what the effects will be on each sector of the Irish economy. While a useful tool, carbon budgets do not indicate the pathway to that outcome either in terms of the trajectory of emissions over time or the sources of those emissions.
“We are awaiting details on how this net zero target will be transformed into actions. As with other markets around the world, we expect flexibility and demand side response to be a key feature of the upcoming Climate Action Plan 2021. But energy intensive businesses can take action now to support the nation’s transition to net zero by providing balancing services to the grid that support higher integration of renewables.”
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