The extent of the challenge to reduce GHG emissions in line with our International and EU obligations is well understood by Government and is reflected also in the National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (2014) and the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015. Both the policy position and legal framework are key elements of the effort to progress the national low carbon transition agenda.
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. It sets out the context for the objective; clarifies the level of GHG mitigation ambition envisaged; and establishes the process to pursue and achieve the overall objective. Specifically, the National Policy Position envisages that policy development will be guided by a long-term vision based on:
- an aggregate reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 across the electricity generation, built environment and transport sectors
- in parallel, an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, including forestry, which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production.
The evolution of climate policy in Ireland will be an iterative process based on the adoption by Government of a series of national plans over the period to 2050. Greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change are to be addressed in parallel national plans – respectively through National Mitigation Plans and National Climate Change Adaptation Frameworks. The plans will be continually updated, as well as being reviewed on a structured basis at appropriate intervals, and at a minimum, every five years. This will include early identification and ongoing updating of possible transition pathways to 2050 to inform sectoral strategic choices.