The National Policy Position establishes the fundamental national objective of achieving transition to a competitive, low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.
2015 Climate Action & Low Carbon Development Act
The Climate Action & Low Carbon Development Act 2015 was signed into law in December 2015. The Act provides for establishment of a national framework with the aim of achieving transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.
2017 National Mitigation Plan
The first National Mitigation Plan on climate change was published on the 19th July 2017 under the 2015 Act. It defines the scale of the decarbonising challenge facing Ireland. It is not a complete roadmap but represents an initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to a low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.
A landmark Supreme Court judgment given on 31 July 2020 quashed the National Mitigation Plan as it is non-compliant with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015. This means the government will now need to pass a new Mitigation Plan in compliance with the Act that has appropriate specificity to ensure that we meet our objective of transitioning to a low carbon climate resilient and environmental sustainable economy by the end of 2050.
Further information can be found here
2018 National Adaptation Framework (NAF)
The NAF was published in 2018 under the 2015 Act. It outlines the national strategy for the application of adaptation measures in different sectors, including Local Authorities, to reduce the vulnerability of the country to the negative effects of climate change and to avail of positive impacts. It adopts an iterative approach to climate change adaptation and requires the 12 key sectors of the Irish economy and all local authorities to develop and implement sectoral and local adaptation strategies. These plans are to be reviewed and updated every 5 years. The first iteration of sector and local authority adaptation strategies were published in September 2019.
Further information can be found on the Departments website here
2018 Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan 2018 - 2020
The Plan sets out an ambitious vision for how Ireland will fully achieve the SDGs at home by 2030 and support their implementation around the world.
The plan includes a 'SDG Matrix' which identifies the responsible government departments for each of the 169 targets. It also contains a 'SDG Policy Map' indicating the relevant national policies for each of the targets. The plan sets out 19 specific actions to implement over the duration of this first SDG National Implementation Plan.
2019 Climate Action Plan
The Climate Action Plan published in July 2019 evolved from the 2017 Citizens Assembly’s third report and recommendations. The Plan sets out 183 actions to be undertaken over the coming years to address the challenges of climate change. The plan recognises the important role of Local Authorities in delivering the actions due to their existing experience and expertise. Local Authorities are named as lead/key stakeholders in 30 of the actions related to built environment, energy, transport and waste management and are directly involved in many more.
The Plan also recognises the role of Local Authorities in leading change through the implementation of local adaptation strategies, providing support to the delivering of sectoral adaptation actions at a local level.
Further information can be found here
2019 Sectoral & Local Authority Adaptation Strategies
Under Ireland's National Adaptation Framework, local authorities and a number of Government Departments were required to prepare sectoral adaptation strategies/plans in relation to the priority areas. These plans can be found on the Climate Ireland website on their Adaptation Strategy Explorer
2020 Amendments to the Act
The Irish Government published the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill on 7 October 2020.
Key elements of the Bill include:
- Establishment of a 2050 target in law – known as the ‘National 2050 Climate Objective’ by committing to a climate resilient and climate neutral economy by the end of the year 2050.
- Establishment of a system of 5-year, economy-wide carbon budgets starting in 2021, which are to be set on a 15-year cycle. Each five year carbon budget will allocate emissions ceilings to all relevant sectors (known as ‘decarbonisation target ranges’). The first budgets will span 2021-2035.
- Annual revisions of the Climate Action Plan (Ireland’s first such plan was published in 2019) and the requirement to prepare a National long-term Climate Action Strategy at least every decade.
- Obligation for greater climate action at regional and local level, with local authorities required to develop five-year Climate Action Plans with mitigation and adaptation measures included. The Minister will request such a plan within 18 months of the enactment of the Bill, and not less than once in every five-year period going forward thereafter.
- Strengthening the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council to advise and propose carbon budgets to Government.
- Greater accountability and oversight by the Oireachtas with all relevant ministers required to give account for their sectors annually.
Further information on the amendments can be found here