Govt not implementing climate policy fast enough – CCAC

The government is not implementing climate policy fast enough, according to the chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC), Marie Donnelly.

Donnelly told the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) conference today (Thursday, October 12) in Co. Dublin that while government targets are “good”, they are just on paper and need to be “acted on”.

She was also critical of many areas where there is a delay in implementation, including what she described as “a failed forestry policy”.

According to the chair of the independent advisory body, Ireland is “so far behind forestry targets that it’s gone beyond a joke”.

Donnelly highlighted that the country is currently at 11% afforestation and needs to achieve 18% between now and 2050.

She also outlined to conference delegates today in Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin that there was no national policy for using land for bioenergy.

“You ask a politician about bioenergy and they say it’s a brilliant idea. Then when you start going into detail, they start thinking will people buy into this, really how many would object to it, and can I actually defend it?

“Then you find a lot of the political support that was there at the start, starts to dissipate,” Donnelly said.

IrBEA’s 22nd National Bioenergy Conference in Co.Dublin

Support budget

A total of €788 million has been allocated as part of Budget 2024 to climate action measures, and to ensure the most vulnerable are protected from unintended impacts of the tax increase.

One of the measures includes a €90 million package to retrofit social housing next year, in order to help people reduce their energy bills and meet climate policy targets.

A further €14 billion will be set aside in the Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund by 2030 to allow for sustained levels of investment in infrastructure in the event of economic downturns and to support climate and nature related projects

The Climate Change Advisory Council is an independent advisory body “tasked with assessing and advising on how Ireland can achieve the transition to a climate-resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally sustainable and climate-neutral economy”.

According to Donnelly short-term plans are “not enough”, and the government should have plans in place as far as 2050, and also be thinking about what agriculture would be like by then.

“We have got to set interim dates for stopping the use of fossil fuels,” she said.

Donnelly added that it’s not just financial support that the government needs to provide, but support in terms of “leaving no sector behind”.


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