Environmental agency, An Taisce, has said that it is “essential” that the state “follows through with the leadership” in terms of climate action, following the publication of the Climate Action Bill.

It has described the publication last week of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan as “an historic moment” and the first ever commitment by the state to legally enforce carbon emissions limits.

Natural environment officer with An Taisce, Dr. Elaine McGoff, said:

“The plan translates an aspiration, that is easy to talk about and to agree with, into specific commitments for all of the key sectors of the economy.

“This is a solid platform on which to build. What is essential now is that the state follows through with the leadership on the actions and the hard numbers required to deliver on the promise of the plan.”

“We are on a journey that will last well beyond the lifetime of today’s decision makers, but we are barely at the beginning of that journey,” she added.

An Taisce said that it is now essential that we now move quickly from setting targets to articulating ‘how’ we meet them.

“What are the inputs, and from whom, that will enable these targets to be achieved?” McGoff continued.

Investment in climate action measures

Meeting our climate targets by 2030 requires investment, as has been promised, according to An Taisce.

The national trust said that it also requires coherence in the approach of the state that reaches beyond the realm of “partisan politics” and the lifetime of any given government.

An Taisce added that the scale of the challenge is emphasised by the reality that to achieve the overall headline figures of 51% reduction in emissions by 2030, each sector will need to deliver at the top end of its own specific targets.

Were the reductions to only reach the lower end of the ranges given, there will be a very significant shortfall, according to An Taisce.

Prof. John Sweeney said: “We quickly need to set out how we will achieve reductions in the next year, so we have real and tangible actions towards change that can then be built on, year on year.

“If we don’t rapidly focus on the details of the next year, we end up pushing all of the delivery of change into later years. Any delay risks increasing the scale and direction of climate damage.

“The net effect of delay is to create a greater cost for our children. We can’t burden those least responsible for the current climate emergency with the worst of its impacts,” he concluded.