Click here to read An Taisce's submission on the draft Climate Action Plan 2024.

Emissions in Ireland are subject to two sets of legal obligations:

  • Compliance with two carbon budgets: 295Mt (2021-2025) and 200Mt (2026-2030) based on a 2018 baseline per the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021
  • A 42% reduction in national Emission Sharing Regulation (ESR) emissions by 2030 based on a 2005 baseline (EU Climate Law).

Per the Climate Act, it is on-time compliance with all carbon budget tonnages that is legally binding. In the absence of immediate course adjustment and urgent measures, both the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) and the Environmental Protection Agency project a failure to comply with the first budget and indeed with the second as well. Taking corrective action to position Ireland back on course for compliance is a fundamental requirement of the Climate Action Plans and the basis on which the annual revisions like this one are required to be made.

Highly effective emergency course-correction measures must be immediately enacted in the Climate Action Plan 2024 to try to bring us back on track to carbon budget compliance. Unfortunately, such effective measures to meet the initial carbon budget allowance are not evident in the Plan, and it therefore does not align with the legally binding economy-wide carbon budgets as required by the Climate Act. The Climate Action Plan 2024 also does not provide a pathway for compliance with EU emissions reduction requirements.

Ultimately, CAP24 as drafted represents the continuation of an incrementalist approach to climate action when what we need is major leaps. By kicking the can down the road as CAP24 does, it leaves more and more work to subsequent carbon budget periods, making the job of budget alignment even more challenging and much more socially and economically difficult than it will already be.

The change needed in any credible strategy for getting back on track to stay within the 2021-2025 carbon budget will inevitably be disruptive. Therefore, what is needed now is a significant increase in political courage to deliver ambitious Climate Action Plans, now in 2024 and in future years, that will get Ireland back on track to meet our emissions reduction legal obligations in an urgent and equitable way.