Climate Bill will drive system rather than individual change, Ryan says

ireland
Climate Bill Will Drive System Rather Than Individual Change, Ryan Says Climate Bill Will Drive System Rather Than Individual Change, Ryan Says
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, © PA Media
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Sarah Mooney

The Government’s Climate Action Bill will drive system rather than individual change, according to Minister for Climate Action Eamon Ryan.

Ireland will be a “climate resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally-sustainable and climate-neutral economy” by 2050 under the revised legislation approved by Government.

The revised Bill commits Ireland to carbon neutrality no later than 2050 and targets a 51 per cent reduction in emissions by the end of the decade.

It also “embeds the process of setting binding and ambitious emissions-reductions targets in law”, and provides a legal framework for Ireland to meet its international and EU climate commitments.

Speaking at the Bill's publication, Minister Ryan said no other country had set as ambitious a target as halving emissions in the next decade.

“Ireland is showing real leadership now on climate action,” he said. “This changes everything. Changes the system, changes the way the system works... and changes it for the better.”

New jobs

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The new law, if passed, will introduce a legal requirement for the Government to adopt a series of economy-wide five-year carbon budgets, on a rolling 15-year basis.

It will also introduce a requirement for the Government to adopt emission ceilings for sectors such as agriculture and transport. Government Ministers will be responsible for achieving the legally-binding targets in their area.

Minister Ryan said that the Bill would put an international stamp on Ireland as a country “green in practice as well as in word.”

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it was the Government's view that the economic transition envisaged within the Bill would create jobs.

There are substantial job opportunities in the green economy

“There are substantial job opportunities in the green economy,” he said, citing industries such as retrofitting, offshore wind and renewable energies.

Minister Ryan said the Irish family farm would have a future in a climate change world under the provisions of the Bill and would be paid properly for “looking after nature”.

He urged young people to enter jobs in carpentry, engineering, plumbing: “Go into the 30,000 jobs we’re going to create in retrofitting.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar added that the Government would seek to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.

“The early movers with the most ambition will see the greatest opportunities” in industries such as retrofitting, offshore wind, electricity exports or cleantech, he said.

Individual changes

Asked how the lives of individuals would change under the Bill, Minister Ryan said the focus would be upon system rather than individual change.

“To put this down to individuals would be a mistake,” he said.

Rather than a focus on if people were “driving the right car, eating the right thing,” the Minister said the Government would focus on changing the source of energy and land use plans.

Changes for individuals would see warmer homes as 50,000 were retrofitted each year, he said, and an urban environment not dominated by congestion as investment made it safe and easy to walk, cycle and use public transport.

The Bill is now set to progress through the Houses of the Oireachtas as priority legislation, with Ireland’s first carbon budget due later this year.

The final legislation contains stronger language than the draft legislation published by Minister Ryan last autumn, which was criticised for using language around targets that was too vague.

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