Irish Government agrees ‘ambitious’ carbon reduction targets

The Irish Government has agreed “bold” and “ambitious” targets to limit emissions in key sectors of the economy, the Green Party leader has said.

amon Ryan said it was a “hugely significant and important day”.

An agreement was reached on Thursday on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in key sectors of the Irish economy after reaching a compromise rate of 25% for agriculture.

Speaking at Government Buildings on Thursday evening, Mr Ryan said: “We have to be ambitious. We have to be bold. We have to take the action now. We cannot delay and that’s what this Government has committed to.”

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said the agriculture target of 25% reflected a “very challenging, but ultimately achievable, ambition for the sector”.

He said: “This is an important day, but it’s not the end of the journey. It is not even the beginning of one.

“Farmers and this sector have been on a pathway to reduce emissions for many years, but we are now stepping up those ambitions.

“I will back farm families and this Government will too, over the course of the next decade, to reach for ambitious targets. We will support them every step of the way.”

It comes after the Government failed on Wednesday to come to an agreement during the last scheduled Cabinet meeting before the summer recess.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Transport and the Environment Mr Ryan held discussions late into the night on how to assign emission reduction targets across key sectors of the economy, in particular the agriculture sector.

An agreement on reduction targets for all sectors was signed off by Cabinet ministers on Thursday afternoon.

The Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 set out a 22-30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions target for the agriculture sector, as part of Ireland’s aim to reduce its total emissions by 51% by 2030.

A reduction in the range of 62-81% was outlined for electricity, with a 42-50% reduction in transport.

Some backbench TDs wanted the agricultural emissions ceiling to be set on the lower end of that range, with climate scientists and some opposition parties calling for a reduction on the higher end.

Ireland has legally committed to halving its carbon emissions by 2030 and to achieving net-zero by 2050.

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