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Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021

Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021

Date: 23 Jul 2021

Ireland’s ambitious Climate Act 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 Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, has welcomed the signature by the President today of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act that provides the framework for Ireland to meet its international and EU climate commitments and to become a leader in addressing climate change.

A key element from a local authority prespective is the requirement for local authorities to prepare individual Climate Action Plans. These Plans will include both mitigation and adaptation measures and are required to be updated every five years.

The CARO are currentyl working with the EPA and Climate Ireland to develop guidance documents for the sector to assist in drafting these local plans and associated consultantion processes - expected in October 2021.

Key Highlights of the Act

  • This Act embeds the process of setting binding and ambitious emissions-reductions targets in law
  • The Act provides for 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
  • The Act provides that the first two five-year carbon budgets proposed by the Climate Change Advisory Council should equate to a total reduction of 51% over the period to 2030, relative to a baseline of 2018
  • The role of the Climate Change Advisory Council has been strengthened, enabling it to propose carbon budgets to the Minister which match our ambition and international obligations
  • The government must adopt carbon budgets that are consistent with the Paris agreement and other international obligations. All forms of greenhouse gas emissions including biogenic methane will be included in the carbon budgets, and carbon removals will be taken into account in setting budgets. *However it is up to government to decide on the trajectories for different sectors
  • The Government will determine, following consultation, how to apply the carbon budget across the relevant sectors, and what each sector will contribute in a given five-year period
  • Actions for each sector will be detailed in the Climate Action Plan which must be updated annually
  • Government Ministers will be responsible for achieving the legally-binding targets for their own sectoral area with each Minister accounting for their performance towards sectoral targets and actions before an Oireachtas Committee each year
  • Local Authorities must prepare individual Climate Action Plans which will include both mitigation and adaptation measures and will be updated every five years. Local Authority Development Plans must be aligned with their Climate Action Plan.
  • Public Bodies will be obliged to take account of Climate Action Plans in the performance of their functions.

Read more HERE.