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Draft Programme for Government – Climate Highlights

  • Ireland
  • Construction and engineering - Articles
  • Energy and infrastructure - Clean energy

16-06-2020

The draft ‘Programme for Government’ sets out, among many other things, how Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party intend to tackle climate change.

The highlights as they relate to climate change commitments and actions include:

Emissions reduction

- Commitment to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade) and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

- Enshrining the 2050 target in law by the Climate Action Bill which will be introduced in the Dáil within the first 100 days of government alongside a newly established Climate Action Council. The Bill will define how five-year carbon budgets will be set.

- Considering the implementation of a carbon price floor in the ETS to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

- A new strategy to expand afforestation, particularly Close to Nature Forestry and agro-forestry.

Renewables

- Action to deliver at least 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

- Give cross-government priority to the drafting of the Marine Planning and Development Bill so that it is published as soon as possible and enacted within nine months.

- Expansion and incentivising of micro generation including roof top solar energy.

- Hold the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction by the end of 2020, with auctions held each year thereafter, including the first RESS auction for offshore wind in 2021.

- Complete the Celtic Interconnector to connect Ireland’s electricity grid to France.

- Finalise and publish the Wind Energy Guidelines having regard to the public consultation which has just taken place. 

- Strengthen the policy framework to incentivise electricity storage and interconnection.

- Invest in research and development in “green” hydrogen (generated using excess renewable energy) as a fuel for power generation, manufacturing, energy storage and transport.

Gas

- End issuing of new licenses for exploration and extraction of gas, on the same basis as the recent decision in relation to oil exploration and extraction.

- Withdraw the Shannon LNG terminal from the EU Projects of Common Interest list in 2021. Develop a policy statement to establish that the importation of fracked gas is not supported by the Government.

Decarbonisation of road transport

- Commitment to an allocation of 10% of the total transport capital budget for cycling projects and an allocation of 10% of the total capital budget for pedestrian infrastructure.

- Commitment to a 2:1 ratio of expenditure between new public transport infrastructure and new roads over its lifetime.

- Legislation to ban the registration of new fossil-fuelled cars and light vehicles from 2030 onwards and phase out diesel and petrol cars from Irish cities from 2030. 

- Requiring that all new urban buses be electric hybrid or electric. 

Retrofitting

- Develop a new Area-Based and one-stop-shop approach to retrofitting to upgrade at least 500,000 homes to a B2 by 2030.

- Reduce cost by grouping homes together, starting in the Midlands area and developing easy pay back mechanisms (ie through your utility bill).

- Leveraging smart finance (eg loan guarantee, European Investment Bank, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)).

Other climate-related issues

The draft Programme for Government also discusses involving communities, ensuring a Just Transition, governance, a Clean Air Strategy, biodiversity and engagement with the European Green Deal, among others.

For more information, please contact

Mark Varian, Partner, Construction and Projects - MarkVarian@eversheds-sutherland.ie

Jennifer Burke, Senior Associate, Construction and Projects - JenniferBurke@eversheds-sutherland.ie

The draft ‘Programme for Government’ has been endorsed by the Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Green Party parliamentary parties, but the process of agreement by the party memberships is still ongoing.