Home retrofits, electric cars and renewable energy key elements of Climate Action Plan

Home retrofits, electric cars and renewable energy key elements of Climate Action Plan

The elimination of non-recyclable plastic, a focus on electric cars, and home retrofits are among the 180 actions set out in the government's Climate Action Plan published today.

The plan identifies how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for carbon emissions, with the goal to have zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Published by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, the plan aims for 70% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030, an increase from the current output of 30%.

It outlines how non-recyclable plastic will be eliminated and higher fees will be imposed on producing materials which are difficult to recycle.

Measures will also be introduced to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds.

For homeowners, a scheme will be established to allow them to generate their own electricity and sell what they don't use back to the national grid.

A new Retrofit Plan to retrofit 500,000 homes will also be delivered, with large groups of houses being retrofitted by the same contractor to reduce costs, smart finance, and easy payback methods.

Additionally, 400,000 heat pumps will be installed in homes and businesses to replace the existing carbon-intensive heating systems.

The government hopes that greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced in agriculture by "creating new, sustainable opportunities for family farms".

As for transport, 950,000 electric vehicles will be brought on to the roads, accompanied by a nationwide charging network and an electric vehicle scrappage scheme.

Legislation will also be enacted to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

To ease congestion on the roads, the network of cycling paths and "Park and Ride" facilities will be expanded under the plan.

As for the government, a system of five-year carbon budgets and sector targets will be established, with the relevant Minister responsible for delivering on the target, and penalities if they are not met. These targets will be underpinned by a new Climate Action Act and all major government investments and decisions will be carbon-proofed.

The Climate Action Plan will be updated annually, with actions reported on quarterly.

The government warned that failure to implement the policies outlined in the plan, and thereby not meeting EU targets, could result in a cost to the Exchequer of up to €1.75bn over the next decade.

Commenting today, the Taoiseach Leo 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. Our approach will be to nudge people and businesses to change behaviour and adapt new technologies through incentives, disincentives, regulations and information.

Our objective, as we plan for the future, is to transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society. This Plan represents the sum of our hopes for the future. Our call to action in the fight to save our planet.

Minister Bruton echoed the Taoiseach's words, saying: "We are currently 85% dependent on fossil fuels. 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.

"We will be doing things in new, innovative ways. Most of the actions set out will actually save money in the long-run. We will now implement this Plan, rolling out the required actions through a sustained effort.

"This is a life changing journey and it is a rapid, transformative adjustment that is required. Nothing less will do. We must all now take up the challenge."

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan also welcomed the plan, saying that it will have the added benefit of increasing the protection of Irish nature and biodiversity.

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