Future carbon budgets for every sector of the economy “will require fundamental changes” affecting the way people live and work, said Climate Minister Eamon Ryan.
He was speaking after the publication of the new global carbon budgets proposed by the Advisory Council on Climate Change, as the country imposes for the first time a statutory limit on greenhouse gas emissions.
Council budgets set a national cap for the total amount of emissions that can be released.
The first carbon budget, which will run from 2021 to 2025, will see emissions decrease by 4.8% on average each year for five years.
The second budget, which will run from 2026 to 2030, will see emissions decrease by 8.3% on average each year for five years.
“The proposed carbon budgets will require the transformational changes for society and the economy that are needed; not taking action on climate change would have serious consequences, ”the council said.
Its president, Marie Donnelly, said “significant investment across the economy” would be needed.
Individuals and communities “at risk of job loss or disproportionate costs must be identified and assisted,” the council stressed.
Mr Ryan said the government would soon set the carbon limit for each sector individually, which he said would be “difficult”.
Government sources have said the most crucial phase is ahead as she plans to unveil the historic climate plan next week that will set out how each sector should respond, including agriculture, transport, heating and power generation. ‘electricity.
Rural TDs in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have privately expressed fears of a backlash over new carbon caps for the agricultural sector. It is understood that the Green Party is in favor of reducing the national herd, but there is strong reluctance on the part of members of other coalition parties.
In its report, the council said there was a need “for a strong, rapid and sustained reduction in methane emissions”.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon said it was clear from the council’s modeling what the consequences would be for rural economies if climate action “is not managed responsibly” .
“The potential job losses and the damage done to rural Ireland by crude measures like herd reduction are glaring. That is why it is vitally important that we have the right sectoral goals for an area like agriculture. Policy decisions need to be backed by solid science – if farmers cannot see the meaning of what they are being asked to do, it will be difficult to achieve anything, ”he said.
Irish Farmers’ Association chairman Tim Cullinan said the agricultural emissions cap in budgets would “have serious implications for agriculture”.
“Our most productive farmers simply cannot remain viable if agriculture is to reduce emissions by 21% to 30%, as has been reported,” he said, referring to estimates from one source. government provided to the Irish Times last week.
“This will have profound implications for the rural economy,” he said.
But Oisín Coghlan, director of Friends of the Earth, said: “The truth is, if we stay on budget, we will all win, with a cleaner, healthier and more secure future.”
Welcoming the budget targets, Mr Coghlan said the narrative around the plans had started to pit sectors against each other. However, “if we fail, we will all be the losers, faced with accelerated climate degradation with all the costs and destruction that this will entail.”
It is expected that the government’s climate plan will be released on November 3 and that Mr Ryan will bring the details to the COP26 conference in Glasgow.