The climate crisis is the defining challenge of our time. The lives we currently live are not sustainable. The causes of climate change are well understood. Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise as a result of human activities, warming the planet beyond safe temperatures. This creates consequences for food and water security, extreme weather events, sea-level rise, loss of wildlife, increased occurrences of flooding and drought, disease and the potential for mass migration.
According to the latest figures , Ireland has exceeded its annual EU emissions budget for the third year in a row, and by a margin of over 5 million tonnes. At a time of global urgency to address climate change this is a national trend that we must reverse. We are already able to see some of the impacts on this warming in Ireland.
We have the opportunity to act now however to mitigate the worst effects of climate change and secure a safer future for generations to come. Climate action will require tough political decisions as well as participation across all levels of society to decide upon, and make, the required changes to our daily lives. The scale of the climate crisis demands nothing less than a fundamental rethink in how we do things.
Both at a national and international level, Ireland is committed to making the changes needed to tackle the climate crisis. Apart from environmental benefits, these actions will also improve the quality of life for citizens and ultimately leave the world in a better condition for our children. The Irish Citizens’ Assembly called to make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action responded to that Report with a cross-party consensus for action. It is now time to fulfil that ambition.
There is a lot of work already underway to address the climate crisis from international commitments to local community projects. This is making a difference but it is challenging to see how it all comes together and to see what more has to be done and how we can make it work better.
No one single action, or step will get us there. It is about the culmination of lots of actions across a whole range of areas and by government, by business and by people. We cannot afford to wait. Any delay in action will only create more consequences for society and ultimately cost us more to make the transition. We need to take the right actions however, backed by evidence and aware that any decisions we make now will impact for generations to come. This includes a need to avoid ‘locking-in’ to further carbon intensive activities.
And that is why we have developed the Climate Action Plan 2019 , an annual plan setting out in detail the actions that government is taking to tackle the climate crisis. It aims to make sure that we continually build on progress and that we have a joined up approach right across government.
The Plan sets out 183 actions across every sector and with timelines for delivery, which will help us meet our 2030 climate commitments and put us on the path to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
A key feature of the Climate Action Plan is that detailed progress reports are published quarterly to ensure delivery and hold responsible actors to account.
The first of these showed a completion rate of 85%, incorporating 149 measures across sectors. The Climate Action Delivery Board will continue to monitor progress and identify challenges to delivering the remaining actions not achieved.
Some of the key measures delivered to date include:
For more details on the challenges posed in each sector, and the key targets for each in the Climate Action Plan and the action taken to date, please click on the sectors below.
We can all play an important role in tackling climate change. Using a carbon calculator to help reduce our carbon count number is an easy way to take responsibility for the greenhouse gas emissions we create every time we heat our homes, drive our cars, take a flight, charge our mobile phones or turn on our computers.
A carbon calculator will also highlight which areas of your lifestyle have the greatest effect on climate change and will provide you with advice on what steps you can take to reduce your carbon count.
The following are free web based personal and household carbon calculators. These have an international dimension, but the mitigation advice is applicable to any household in the developed world:
There is a range of useful advice and guidance on reducing your carbon footprint in the sections below. Further information on household energy use reductions and waste management is available at Live Green .