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Displaying items by tag: Climate Action Plan

Three experts have rated Government progress on climate and environment as a “C”, which is down from last year’s “C+” score.

The water and marine category is rated as “poor”, and rated 4.5 out of 10 compared to 5.5 in 2021.

It is one of nine categories assessed by the team, chaired by Dr Cara Augustenborg from University College Dublin, and involving Dr Paul Deane from University College Cork, and Dr Diarmuid Torney from Dublin City University.

Dr Diarmuid Torney from Dublin City UniversityDr Diarmuid Torney from Dublin City University

Dr Cara Augustenborg from University College DublinDr Cara Augustenborg from University College Dublin

Dr Paul Deane from University College CorkDr Paul Deane from University College Cork

The assessment of the Government’s performance in relation to its Climate Action Plan commitments was commissioned by Friends of the Earth which states it had no role in deciding the results.

The expert team says that the overall grade “reflects a significant drop in the scores for some area with improvements in other areas”.

The Government’s score on the climate category dropped from 7.5 to 6, on energy from 6 to 4 and on water from 5.5 to 4.5, while the score on nature and biodiversity jumped from 4.5 to 6.5 and transport edged up from 6.5 to 7.

High scores for progress on waste (8.5) and air quality (7) were maintained, while the poor score on agriculture (4) did not improve, it says.

“At this stage in the Government’s tenure, we would expect to see them move from planning to implementation of their commitments, ”the team says.

“However, in these areas specifically, we observed a concerning lack of progress turning the Government’s own ambitions into actions at the required pace,” it says.

“The Government’s performance to date on their own environmental commitments is a truly mixed bag,” Dr Augustenborg says.

“ While it was uplifting to see significant progress in the area of nature and biodiversity and a policy shift to more active modes of transport, the lack of effort to address water quality was deeply concerning,”she says.

“In addition, significant delays on commitments in the energy and agricultural sectors leads to the risk of not meeting our climate targets in the future,”she says.

“ It’s clear that climate change, biodiversity loss, and water quality continue to worsen. While this Government has made progress in some areas, their pace does not align with Ireland’s deteriorating environmental conditions,” she adds.

“Of all the options open to the Irish government, delay wasn’t one of them,” Dr Deane says.

“ There is a mismatch between climate ambition and action in Ireland with policy moving at a speed that is both at odds with the existing climate crisis and overlapping fossil fuel energy crisis,” he says.

Dr Diarmuid Torney said: “two years into a government’s term in office, I would expect to see clear progression from vision and ambition to detailed implementation”.

“We have had no shortage of vision and ambition, but not nearly enough implementation overall,” he says.

“ There has been good progress in some areas, particularly nature and biodiversity, and transport, but a notable lack of action in other areas, particularly energy, agriculture and water,”he says.

Friends of the Earth chief executive Oisín Coghlan says he could sum up the assessment as “could do better” on the Government’s part.

“ To extend the school report analogy the Government is attentive in class and is quick to put their hand up but that isn’t reflected in their actual results,”Coghlan says.

“In short, we are in a climate and energy emergency and the Government have to start acting like it. They did it for Covid and Ukraine but they just aren’t doing it for climate,”he says.

“Over the coming months, the key tests include the new Climate Action Plan, the fossil energy price crisis and the Citizens’ Assembly on biodiversity,” he says.

“On climate, the Government must immediately turn the new sectoral pollution limits into policies and measures that actually reduce emissions with an updated Action Plan due in November,” Coghlan says.

“They must stand up to fossil fuel interests who are pushing them to address the fossil fuel energy price crisis by locking us into more fossil fuels,”Coghlan continues.

“Instead of embracing this climate-wrecking false solution, the Government must proactively help people save energy and money with retrofitting and active travel, prioritising and protecting those in energy poverty,”he says.

The experts’ assessment of progress in the nine different areas can be read in the full report card, which can be downloaded below

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Waterways Ireland is calling on members of the public to have their say on its new Climate Action Plan, the public consultation for which is now open.

This is the cross-border navigation authority’s first climate action plan. Focused on the decade to 2030, it sets out the vision for how Waterways Ireland will reach its key climate action targets.

This includes reducing emissions by at least 51% and improving energy efficiency by at least 50%. It also addresses Waterways Ireland’s aim to be a net zero organisation by 2050.

The draft Climate Action Plan details the seven objectives Waterways Ireland has identified as being essential to delivering on its climate ambitions.

The first two are centred on people and processes: setting out how Waterways Ireland will deliver through collaboration and engagement, and by leveraging its assets. The other five objectives focus on delivering across climate mitigation and climate adaptation. The integrated objectives align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Commenting on the plan, Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh said: “Waterways Ireland is the custodian of Ireland’s inland navigable waterways and we see climate change as a critical challenge for our organisation and its stakeholders.

“As the body responsible for vital shared heritage across the island of Ireland, we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to take a leadership role in climate action. We will enthusiastically take on that mantle by identifying transformative and innovative ways to engage in climate action initiatives over the lifetime of the plan.”

Under the draft plan, Waterways Ireland commits to considering climate action in decisions around the acquisition, operation, maintenance and disposal of its assets, as well as the procurement of energy, consumables and third-party services.

These activities will be supported by targeted actions and initiatives in priority areas to implement climate mitigation and adaptation measures.

Progress in achieving key results will be measured quarterly, ensuring that activities are agile and can keep pace with carbon budgets and other measures developed for the sector.

“The draft plan reflects our commitment to take meaningful climate action to protect our inland waterways so they can continue to be enjoyed into the future. This includes adapting the waterways network to address climate change risks and reviewing programmes on an ongoing basis,” McDonagh added.

“Transport and energy are key target areas for us, and we will focus on targeting the decarbonisation of the buildings, infrastructure, assets and fleet responsible for the greatest proportion of our emissions.

“We have been moving in the right direction for a number of years. However, we recognise the need to be consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the ambitions of the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“The draft Waterways Ireland Climate Action Plan is highly ambitious and through its implementation, climate action will become integral to Waterways Ireland’s operations and developments. We encourage anyone with an interest in this area to have a look at the draft plan and to submit their observations.”

The draft Waterways Ireland Climate Action Plan can be found on the Waterways Ireland website HERE. Submissions can be made via email or post, details of which can be found at the previous link.

The closing date for submissions is Monday 17 January 2022. Following the 12-week consultation, submissions will be reviewed and the final Climate Action Plan will be prepared.

Waterways Ireland is hosting a Q&A webinar on the draft Climate Action Plan at 7pm on Thursday 11 November. To reserve your place, email [email protected]

Published in Inland Waterways

Seán Canney, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, has confirmed the policy principles that will underpin the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton’s announcement to cease new exploration for oil offshore Ireland.

This announcement, in an address to the United Nations Climate Action Summit on 23 September, came on foot of advice received from the Climate Change Advisory Council on what the future of oil and natural gas offshore exploration should be in the context of the recently published Climate Action Plan.

The council noted that the plan envisages a major shift away from oil combustion within heat and transport sectors towards renewables in the coming decade. Therefore, the council advised that the exploration for, and recovery of new offshore oil reserves, is not compatible with a low carbon transition.

The council further advised that the continued exploration for and extraction of new offshore natural gas reserves can be consistent with a low-carbon transition.

Gas is considered to be a transition fuel. This is particularly the case for Ireland, the Government says, where we do not have nuclear power, hydro power at scale or geo-thermal power, which other countries can use to provide back-up for wind and solar power.

The Government asserts that natural gas, as the lowest emitting fossil fuel, will provide the best electricity back up in 2030 when Ireland reaches 70% renewable electricity.

The minister will commission an Energy Sustainability and Security Review which will consider the role of fossil fuels during the transition. It will also consider the role that other technologies can play.

Minister Canney confirmed yesterday (Wednesday 30 October) the following principles in relation to petroleum exploration in the Irish Offshore:

  1. All future licencing rounds in the currently closed area offshore (Atlantic Margin, 80%) will be for natural gas only and not oil.
  2. All new licence applications in the currently open area (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, coastal areas, 20%) will be for natural gas only and not oil, applicable from the day of the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton’s announcement on 23 September.
  3. All applications and authorisations in place before the announcement was made will not be affected by the decision.

The minister has asked the department to prepare a policy statement which will set out:

  • The basis for the underpinning principles in the broader context of the Government’s Climate Action Plan;
  • The future development management framework for the exploration and production of gas, as a transition fuel, in Ireland’s offshore; and,
  • The role of natural gas in ensuring Ireland’s energy security.

“These principles underpin the Government’s decision for no new oil exploration offshore Ireland. They provide further clarity on the implementation of this decision and are consistent with the Climate Action Plan published by Government on 17 June 2019,” Minister Canney said.

“The Climate Action Plan puts Ireland on a trajectory to meet our 2030 target for carbon emissions, which is consistent with achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Minister Bruton added: “Over the next decade, we will rapidly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as we move to 70% renewables.

“The Government sought advice from the Climate Advisory Council on exploration in the context of this transition and has accepted that advice to ban new oil exploration off Irish coastal waters. Today we agreed the terms of that ban.”

Published in Coastal Notes

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it welcomes the Government’s Climate Action Plan to tackle the growing global climate crisis.

The plan launched yesterday (Monday 17 June), which contains 180 actions to ensure Ireland will meet its 2030 targets for carbon emissions, also sets out how Ireland aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The plan looks at every sector, including the public sector — with all public bodies set to receive a new climate action mandate to prioritise climate action.

Earlier this year, IFI introduced energy efficient vehicles with a view to achieving a 24% reduction in the C02 emissions from its fleet patrolling inland waterways nationwide.

In addition, IFI says it has implemented a fleet management system to generate additional efficacies.

“This new national plan, together with a new mandate for the public sector offers an opportunity to refocus the philosophy of our organisation,” said IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne of the announcement.

“As an environmental agency, we are very aware of the critical nature of climate change and the impact it is having on our fisheries resource. We are looking at every aspect of our work to see how we can reduce our environmental footprint.

“The move to ‘green’ vehicles is just one of many changes which we are making to ensure we reduce our overall emissions.”

Others include reducing consumption by half on sea payrolls by introducing modern RIBs as fisheries protection vessel, as well as carrying out patrols by kayak and bicycle where possible.

“We are at a crossroads when it comes to climate change and this plan provides us with a framework to help us make the right choices and build a sustainable future,” Dr Byrne added.

The new Climate Action Plan has not been as warmly received by others, with the likes of the Irish Wildlife Trust agreeing with yesterday’s Irish Times editorial that it shows “little ambition on land use and fails to make the link to biodiversity loss”.

Published in Inland Waterways

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