Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said that the first carbon budgets being set for Ireland are a “significant milestone” in the country’s efforts to tackle climate change.

The carbon budgets were submitted to Government on Monday by the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) and will result in Ireland setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions for set periods of time.

“When we passed the Climate Act in July we embedded the process of carbon budgeting into law," Ryan said.

“The Act also strengthened the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council, to empower this independent body to do this important work, based on the most up-to-date climate science. These first carbon budgets are a significant milestone in our efforts to tackle climate change.

“The first two five-year carbon budgets equate to a total reduction of 51% emissions over the period to 2030. This is part of the journey towards ‘net zero’, which commits us to the transition to a ‘climate resilient, biodiversity rich, environmentally sustainable and climate neutral economy’ no later than 2050,” he said.

Climate Action Plan

Minister Ryan said that the Government will shortly publish the Climate Action Plan 2021 and that every sector of the economy will need to play its part.

“There will be different targets for each sector, based on their respective starting points and the relative difficulty, cost, speed and benefits of reducing emissions.

“This will be challenging and will require fundamental changes in many parts of Irish life, but it is also an opportunity to create a cleaner, greener economy and society that cuts emissions, creates jobs and protects our people and the planet,” he said.

What happens next?

The proposed carbon budgets will go to Government and then to the Oireachtas.

The Oireachtas will be tasked with reviewing and approving these carbon budgets within a four-month period. Once these overall, economy-wide carbon budgets are approved, the Government will divide the overall carbon budgets into sectoral emissions ceilings.

The Climate Action Plan will set out indicative ranges of emissions reductions for all sectors and will also set out the practical measures that we need to take to meet the country’s climate targets.