Welcoming the latest report from InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which deals with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D. said “this is a vital piece of scientific policy analysis to inform our response to climate change at all levels of governance”. This report, which was approved and published at the IPCC meeting in Yokohama yesterday, notes the important contribution of adaptation and mitigation measures in reducing the current and future vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Ireland remains engaged and committed, both domestically and internationally, to advance this work, including through participation at the UNFCCC where negotiations towards a new global deal on climate are underway and due to conclude in Paris in December 2015.
In response to the well-established scientific advice from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the European Union has adopted an objective, in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries as a group, to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. In addition to this overarching objective, EU commitment to an effective, long-term global response to climate change is evident in –
- the comprehensive Climate and Energy Package adopted in December 2008 and covering initiatives and actions to reduce emissions up to 2020,
- the Communications (March 2011) from the Commission on A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, and
- the Commission Communication, published in January 2014, on A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030.
Minister Hogan pointed out that “Ireland has consistently supported EU pro-activity and leadership on climate policy, both in relation to framing the internal agenda and to the positive influence which the EU seeks to bring to the wider international agenda under the UNFCCC. We have a progressive position on climate protection, but we also have a long way to go in terms of recovering from the recent economic and banking crises, particularly in the context of the very challenging greenhouse gas mitigation target for 2020 set for us under EU law,” the Minister said. “It is important that we balance our economic and environmental objectives. Economic development and low-carbon transition are not mutually exclusive and can be progressed in parallel, provided we advance on an informed and sensible course. These were key points that I raised with Climate Commissioner Hedegaard at our meeting in Dublin earlier this month.
At a domestic level, I am eager to make progress, informed by wide-ranging consultations, on the programme for the development of national climate policy and legislation, both in relation to greenhouse gas mitigation policy and climate change adaptation policy. In addition to the comprehensive open consultation undertaken by my Department over the last two years, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht facilitated a round of stakeholder engagement on climate policy analysis undertaken by the Secretariat to the National Social and Economic Council and the outline Heads of the Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill, both of which I released in February 2013.
I am now considering the Joint Committee’s report, as well as a range of other issues, in the context of finalising the draft Heads of the new Bill, which I expect to publish in the coming weeks, subject to the approval of Government”