Ireland’s Climate Change Bill agreed

Mr John Gormley TD Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government today (December 16) outlined the details of the proposed Climate Change Bill.

The bill provides a framework for legislation on the transition to a low-carbon future.

There will be a short-term target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average 2.5% per year, compared to 2008 emissions.

A further medium-term target will be introduced to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and a long-term target of 80% by 2050.

Climate policy objectives and obligations will be integrated into sectoral policy areas, and sectoral mitigation and adaptation plans will be required for relevant sectors.

Mr Gormley said: “The Bill is relatively short but I believe that it represents a milestone step forward for climate policy in Ireland.

“Its balance of clarity and progressiveness will make it easily accessible and highly effective.

“I appreciate that there will be some who have concerns about the Bill but I believe they have nothing to fear from such legislation.

“I look forward to the early publication of the bill and positive engagement from the opposition in order to provide a potent piece of legislation that will serve us into the future.”

The government acknowledged that there were particular concerns in the agricultural sector, but believes the bill poses no threat to the sustainable future of agriculture in Ireland.

Ireland has been highlighting the issue of carbon leakage to ensure that food production using sustainable agricultural practices is not replaced by food produced by less sustainable and more environmentally damaging methods elsewhere.

The issue of carbon leakage from the agriculture sector will be examined closely at EU level when the decision to raise EU reduction targets to 30% is taken.

Mr Gormley said he expected the bill to be formally approved by the Government at its meeting next week and to be published soon after.

Alison Brown

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