The Government has released the promised review of National Climate Policy. On foot of the policy set out in the National Climate Change Strategy 2007-12, Ireland is on course to meet its binding commitment for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol in the compliance period 2008-12. However, beyond 2012, Ireland has clear and challenging greenhouse gas mitigation targets for the 2013-20 period, which are binding under EU law and which must be addressed in the longer-term context of transition to a competitive, low-carbon economy.
“Completing the review was my immediate climate policy priority,” says Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, TD. “It is an important stock-taking exercise, in terms both of the progress that has been achieved to date in reducing national greenhouse gas emissions and the deeper reductions to which Ireland, as a Member State of the European Union, is already committed to in the medium and longer term.”
A three pronged approach will be undertaken in order to develop the necessary policy mix to support an ambitious but realistic national mitigation agenda:
* An independent study will be carried out by the secretariat to the National Economic and Social Council;
* A public consultation, to be initiated by the Minister in 2012, will enable all stakeholders to engage in the policy development process; and
* Sectoral mitigation progress will be pursued through the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change and the Green Economy based on positive engagement with the relevant Departments where progress must be made if we are to meet our legally-binding EU targets.
As a first step towards a national 2050 low-carbon plan, the Minister announced that he is asking the secretariat to the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) to undertake an independent piece of analysis to inform the policy development process. In parallel with the analysis to be undertaken by the NESC secretariat, the Minister has signalled his intention to initiate a substantial period of consultation early in 2012.
Minister Hogan continues: “My objective, in line with the Programme for Government, is to introduce climate legislation. However, the right policy must be in place before legislation can be introduced. Environmental protection and a competitive economy are complementary and my priority is to make sure we have the appropriate policy in place in order to make a successful transition to a low-carbon future; legislation should underpin policy.”