Ireland signs ambitious Climate Act into law

It puts the country on a legally binding path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050

The Big Zero report

Ireland’s ambitious Climate Act, which has set a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030, has now been signed into law.

The Act ensures the country is on a legally binding path towards the goal as well as achieving net zero emissions no later than 2050 and the transition to a climate-resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally-sustainable and climate neutral economy.

The government must also adopt carbon budgets that are consistent with the Paris climate agreement and other international obligations, with all forms of greenhouse gas emissions, including biogenic methane, included in the budgets.

In addition, the government must determine, following consultation, how to apply the carbon budget across the relevant sectors and what each sector will contribute in a given five-year period, with the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council strengthened, enabling it to propose carbon budgets to the government.

Local authorities must prepare individual Climate Action Plans that include both mitigation and adaptation measures, which will be updated every five years.

Eamon Ryan, Environment, Climate and Communications Minister said: “Today is a landmark day as we turn climate ambition into law and set out on a journey to net zero emissions. The extreme weather events around the world over the past month have shown us all that we must act quickly, to protect ourselves and our planet. Our immediate target of halving emissions by 2030 is challenging but it is also an opportunity to transform our economy, create new jobs, protect our environment and build a greener and fairer future.

“We will all need to work together to achieve this, in renewable energy, active and sustainable travel, in business, agriculture and across government. But the signal we are sending today is that now is the time for action.”

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