The Government’s “bold and ambitious” climate action plan will nudge people and businesses to change behaviour, the Taoiseach has said.
Leo Varadkar said the plan represented a call to action in the fight to save the planet.
The Government published its plan to tackle climate breakdown on Monday, outlining how Ireland will reduce its overall carbon emissions by 20% by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050.
The plan includes more than 180 measures such as the introduction of carbon taxes, the end of single-use non-recyclable plastics, increased renewable energy targets, and incentives to encourage people to switch from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric vehicles.
A nationwide charging system for electric vehicles is to be introduced and legislation would ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
This plan identifies how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for carbon emissions, and puts us on a trajectory to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. #climateplan2019 https://t.co/xOxmEBVo1s pic.twitter.com/msTrSSXeOb— MerrionStreet.ie #StaySafe #HoldFirm (@merrionstreet) June 17, 2019
A retrofit programme for homes is also set to be implemented.
Cabinet ministers arrived for the launch at the Grangegorman campus in one of the first hybrid buses in the Dublin Bus fleet.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Varadkar said: “The greatest responsibility we have is to pass on our planet to the next generation in a better condition than we inherited it.
“With this plan we are making changes now, before it is too late, to ensure we do exactly that.
“We recognise that Government doesn’t have all the answers. So we will work with people, industry and communities to chart the best and most inclusive way forward.
An Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar, Minister @RichardBrutonTD and other members of government are traveling to @WeAreTUDublin Grangegorman Campus by electric hybrid Dublin Bus, where they will be launching the Government Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown. #ClimatePlan2019 pic.twitter.com/4ktR1xENpv— MerrionStreet.ie #StaySafe #HoldFirm (@merrionstreet) June 17, 2019
“A way forward that is both effective and sensible. One that achieves our targets, and in a way that is thought through and considered, supports employment and living standards and enables a just transition.
“Our approach will be to nudge people and businesses to change behaviour and adapt new technologies through incentives, disincentives, regulations and information.
He added: “This plan represents the sum of our hopes for the future. Our call to action in the fight to save our planet.”
At a time when we should be radically reducing our reliance on carbon, Irelandâs greenhouse gas emissions have been rising rapidly. We are currently 85% dependent on fossil fuels #ClimatePlan2019 pic.twitter.com/XbaoTY3LIo— Richard Bruton (@RichardbrutonTD) June 17, 2019
Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said the Government needed to act now to leave a “better, healthier, more sustainable Ireland for future generations”.
“This plan sets out radical reforms, which will cut our reliance on carbon, making our businesses more competitive, our homes more sustainable and our farms more efficient,” he said.
Mr Bruton said a “rapid, transformative adjustment” was required.
“Nothing less will do,” he said. “We must all now take up the challenge.”
The plan has been informed by the work of the Citizens’ Assembly and the work of the all-party committee on climate action, chaired by Hildegarde Naughton.
The key actions in the 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 do not use back to the national grid;
– Move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030; currently only 30% of Ireland’s electricity comes from renewable sources;
– Bring 950,000 electric vehicles on to Irish roads, deliver a nationwide charging network, an electric vehicle scrappage scheme and legislation to ban the sale of petrol/diesel cars from 2030;
– Expand network of cycling paths and “park and ride” facilities, helping ease congestion;
– Deliver an intensive programme of retrofitting to install 400,000 heat pumps in homes and businesses, replacing existing carbon-intensive heating systems;
– Establish a system of five-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 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 be issued to semi-state bodies.