‘Laggard’ Ireland takes step toward net-zero carbon goal

(Climate Change News, 29 Mar 2019) A cross-party parliamentary group wants carbon budgets, a higher tax and green agriculture support to reverse the country’s lax policies.

Irish politicians have called for the country, one of the EU’s climate underperformers, to slash emissions to net-zero by 2050.

The recommendations, agreed late on Thursday by a cross-party group of parliamentarians, would set legally-binding limits every five years and hike the carbon tax, while providing strong support for green jobs and agriculture.

The government will decide which, if any of the recommendations to put the policies into place. Irish climate action and environment minister Richard Bruton has said he intends to set climate targets across all government departments.

Setting a net-zero target would mark a significant step change for Ireland – a self-professed climate “laggard”, which is on track to miss its EU-mandated goals for 2020.

After six months of debate, the majority of the committee backed a set of policies that aim to strike a balance between pressure on Ireland to speed up its emissions reductions and political fear of public protests like the gilet jaunes movement in France.

Modelled on the UK’s climate change act, the committee’s report would create a new, independent Climate Action Council to monitor the government’s progress in reducing emissions.

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Climate Change News, 29 Mar 2019: ‘Laggard’ Ireland takes step toward net-zero carbon goal