The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 has been signed into law.
Ireland is now on a legally binding path to net-Zero emissions no later than 2050, and to a 51% reduction in emissions by the end of this decade.
The Act provides the framework for Ireland to meet its international and EU climate commitments and to become a leader in addressing climate change.
“Today is a landmark day, as we turn climate ambition into law, and set out on a journey to net-zero emissions,” Minister Eamon Ryan said.
“The extreme weather events around the world over the past month have shown us all that we must act quickly, to protect ourselves and our planet.
“Our immediate target of halving emissions by 2030 is challenging, but it is also an opportunity to transform our economy, create new jobs, protect our environment and build a greener and fairer future.
“We will all need to work together to achieve this, in renewable energy, active and sustainable travel, in business, agriculture and across government.
"But the signal we are sending is that now is the time for action.”
Meanwhile, the next stage of the process includes the preparation of regulations on carbon accounting, in consultation with the Climate Change Advisory Council and consistent with the Paris Agreement and EU rules.
This will be followed by the production of carbon budgets by the Climate Change Advisory Council.
These Carbon Budgets will be presented to the Oireachtas and approved by Government.
The Government will then set sectoral emissions ceilings determining how each sector of the economy will contribute to the achievement of the Budgets.
Key points within the Act include:
- Embeds the process of setting binding and ambitious emissions-reductions targets in law;
- The provision of a national climate objective, which commits to pursue and achieve no later than 2050, the transition to a climate-resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally sustainable and climate-neutral economy;
- Provision for the first two five-year carbon budgets proposed by the Climate Change; Advisory Council to equate to a total reduction of 51% over the period to 2030, relative to a baseline of 2018;
- Strengthening the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council to enable it to propose carbon budgets to the Minister which match Ireland’s ambition and international obligations Actions for each sector that will be detailed in the Climate Action Plan must be updated annually.