Update on Climate - Carbon Budgets

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We are beginning to see the benefits of the Climate Law that was passed last year as the various mechanisms in the Law kick in.

On 13th January I appeared before the Oireachtas climate committee for a discussion with other stakeholders about the Carbon Budgets proposed by the Climate Council. (As you know, the Carbon Budgets are 5-year ceilings on the total amount of climate pollution Ireland can emit, which will become binding after the Dáil and Seanad vote on them in the next couple of months). All the social partners represented - from business, unions, farmers, social justice and environment - brought their own perspectives to the Oireachtas Committee. But when they were put on the spot by Committee Chair none of them rejected the first two Carbon Budgets proposed by the expert advisory council. That is the big takeaway from this session. It is a key development because it means that officially we have cross-sectoral buy in for the legally binding targets we are setting for 2025 and 2030.

This means that every time a sectoral spokesperson rejects a particular policy to reduce emissions in their sector they can be legitimately put on the spot by journalists and politicians (and you and me) with the following questions:
“You have accepted our overall national targets so if you don’t like this policy to reduce emissions from your sector what alternative action that would reduce emissions just as much are you proposing? Or are you saying some other group should do more because you reject this proposal? If so, what sector? Motorists? Home-owners? The electricity-sector? Consumers?”

We can expect the debate to be robust as the Government moves to the next stage of the climate law and divides up the national carbon budget - the emissions cake - between each sector. Who will get the biggest slice, who will get asked to do more than others? One thing we know for sure: we can’t eat our cake and have it!
You can read my opening statement to the Oireactas Committee here. You can also watch videos from the sessions here, here and here - the video from the particular session I spoke at is here and my input starts at 1.33. The transcript from my session is here.

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Climate Change