Monday, May 23, 2016
On Friday 13 May 2016, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change Miguel Arias Cañete met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed TD and Minister for Climate Change Denis Naughten TD. Mr Arias Cañete spoke on EU’s next steps after the Paris Agreement and renewable energy opportunities for the EU.
Yesterday, 24th May 2016, Ireland’s former president, Mary Robinson, was appointed as UN Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate.
Ireland is legally bound by Article 7 of the UNFCCC COP21 Paris Agreement, signed in December 2015, to prepare and submit periodic updates on its national adaptation and mitigation plans in the global effort to keep global warming below 1.5 °C.
There has been no Government Climate Action Plan since 2007.
The new Programme for Government 2016 dedicates an entire chapter to climate action, stating that Ireland will be “repositioned to give global leadership in this area”. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2016 requires the new Government to produce a National Low Carbon Transition and Mitigation Plan. This is to be Ireland’s first statutory low carbon strategy for the period to 2050. The first National Mitigation Plan will be published within 6 months of the new Government forming and will focus on electricity generation, built environment, transport and agriculture.
The public were invited to submit views on the development of Ireland’s first statutory National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (NAF). The closing date to submit views on the NAF was 20 May 2016.
The current National Adaptation Plan has not been updated since 2012, It is not on a statutory footing and contains no set boundaries or targets. Views were also invited on the National Mitigation Plan in July 2015.
State bodies are obliged by the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act to have regard to the National Adaptation Framework and Mitigation Plan. More information on the climate change policy that will inform the NAF and National Mitigation Plan can be found here.
An article by Philip Lee partner Alice Whittaker published in The Irish Planning Law Digest (Spring 2015) can be found here. The article runs through the accompanying legal and policy framework and should be very helpful to clients looking to learn more about the implications of this significant sea-change in Government legislation and policy.
The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act sets out a National Transition Objective which aims to achieve a “low carbon climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050…at the least cost to the national economy and adopt measures that are cost-effective and do not impose an unreasonable burden on the Exchequer”.
Sectoral Mitigation Measures
Under the 2016 Act tailored sectoral adaptation measures must be prepared. IBEC and ICTU will be sitting down this summer to discuss the concept of a ‘Just Transition’ and what this means in terms of energy efficiency, job losses, job-transfers and job creation in green sectors of employment. The agricultural industry has also been very proactive, preparing a mitigation plan in January 2015. The Office of Public Works in May 2015 also proactively published a Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan on Flood Risk Management for the period 2015 – 2019.
2016 Programme for Government
The Department of the Environment has ‘disappeared’ and its functions split across three departments :
In other news, vocal climate-sceptic, Donald Trump, has admitted climate change is real in a planning permission application for a sea wall to protect Doonbeg golf course from erosion. Trump’s application includes an environmental-impact statement which notes a wall is required to protect the golf-course from “global warming and its effects”.
For further information contact:
Climate Change Consultant