With the EPA confirming that Ireland will fail to meet its obligations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, the Cabinet will meet shortly to consider the contents of the new All-of-Government climate plan which is intended to set out the roadmap to a carbon free future. The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition (SCC) has developed 5 tests for this new plan:
1. Does the plan acknowledge the scale of the challenge?
Does the plan accept that Ireland needs to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 and that our 2030 targets must be strengthened in line with the Paris Agreement and the IPCCC science? Will Ireland finally join with other countries calling for the EU’s ambition to match its rhetorical commitment to the Paris Agreement?
2. Does the plan commit to putting the Oireachtas recommendations on governance into law by the end of the year?
Will the Government bring forward legislation before the summer recess to amend the Climate Action Act in line Chapter One of the Joint Oireachtas Committee report to be enacted before Christmas? That includes putting our new 2050 target into law, 5-year carbon budgets voted on by the Dái l, a strengthened Climate Action Council (and a standing committee of the Dáil to act like the Public Accounts Committee for carbon emissions.
3. Does the plan cut emissions in every sector?
Does the plan include new measures to cut emissions in every sector of the economy? And not just “consider” or “explore”. John FitzGerald, chair of the Climate Advisory Council famously called the Government’s last climate action plan in 2017 “100 good ideas but no new decisions”. The decisions in the plan have to be definite enough to allow the EPA to revise its emissions projections.
4. Does the plan “do the math”?
Does the plan quantify the emissions reductions for every measure? And does it add them all up and benchmark them against our existing 2030 target and our 2050 goal. Does it express them as a carbon budget?
5. Does the plan make clear how the Government will devise the next set of actions?
The Oireachtas Committee makes clear that even its full suite of recommendations does not achieve our fair share of climate action. Does the Government plan acknowledge that too and, crucially, lay out a process and a timeline for developing and adopting the next round of actions?
We look forward to see what decisions the government takes.