The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan will not now be travelling to COP26 tomorrow (Sunday, November 7) as planned, having tested positive for Covid-19.

According to a spokesperson, Minister Ryan is not experiencing symptoms but is self-isolating.

He took a precautionary PCR test yesterday (Friday), as recommended by the organisers of COP26 prior to travel, and received the result today.

Minister Ryan has advised the HSE of his close contacts, including those encountered in the 24 hours before the test.

This is the requirement for those who have a positive result, but who are not experiencing symptoms. He has also advised the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and the Secretary to the government.


The Green Party minister was meant to attend COP26 as part of the National Climate Delegation from Ireland.

The delegation said it will continue its efforts to secure meaningful progress at COP26 through membership of the EU and as a new signatory to the High Ambition Coalition, which works to ensure the delivery of ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

COP26 is the 26th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is currently taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, and runs from October 31 to November 12, 2021.

Following the Paris Agreement, at COP26 the parties submit updated and more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. COP26 will establish whether UN parties are individually and collectively on track to reach the objective of the Paris Agreement – to limit global temperature rise to below 2°C and to strive towards 1.5°C. 

Climate Action Plan

Last week the Irish government launched the Climate Action Plan which confirmed that the agriculture sector will have to cut its greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by between 22% and 30% by the end of this decade.

The plan envisages a “significant reduction” in nitrous oxide emissions by changing farm-management practices.

It also aims to change animal breeding and feeding. A wider prevalence of organic farming is also one of the interventions noted in the plan.

Furthermore, the Climate Action Plan will also see agricultural materials as feedstocks (raw materials) in the production of 1.6 terawatt-hours/year of biomethane for injection into the national grid by 2030.

At the launch of the plan, Minister Ryan said: “As the world gathers in Glasgow to tackle global warming, Ireland is taking decisive action to halve our emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

“By delivering on this plan, we will secure the future for our children and theirs. It’s our chance to make the right choice and create a new Ireland where we cut our dependence on fossil fuels, and develop our own renewable resources including offshore wind.

“A country with cleaner air and water; where homes are warmer and cheaper to heat. Where walking and cycling are safe and accessible, public transport is greener and more frequent, and the rollout of electric vehicles is supported nationwide.

“Where our food is produced in a greener, cleaner way that also protects nature and supports farmers’ incomes,” Minister Ryan concluded.