Climate Action Plan requires a major lifestyle change to the people of Ireland
Micheal Martin of Taoiseach has stated that the Government’s Climate Action Plan will require people to make a significant change to their lifestyle in the years to come.
Martin explains that there will need to be considered adaptations to properties, workplaces, and communities must be willing to change but highlighted that with the appropriate measures, the benefits to the people of Ireland could be significant.
Mr Martin, Leo Varadkar of Tanaiste and Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Climate Change and Transport, discussed the recent publication of the detailed plan to reduce emissions in Ireland by over 50% by 2030. While admitting the need for numerous societal changes, the three leaders highlighted that the many benefits outweighed the necessary transformations. Mr Martin explained that in regards to health and overall quality of life, the plan could be transformational.
Mr Varadkar explained that while Ireland was a small nation, emissions per capita remained one of the highest. Mr Varadkar believes the plan provides a choice to everyone over the next decade. While nobody will be forced into buying electric vehicles, the plans intend to provide the incentives and measures to enable people to make the necessary decisions. With the right incentives in place, political leaders hope this will tip the balance towards making these changes over the next few years.
Changes are never easy to implement, and party leaders have admitted there will be several challenges ahead. The overall budget for the plan currently stands at around £125 billion, made up of public and private funding. Mr Ryan stated that the National Development Plan had allocated approximately £45 billion to transport and climate change this decade but said the majority of the funding would be private, with the main costs for individuals associated with purchasing electric vehicles and retrofitting properties.
Mr Ryan believes that the annual investment allocated for walking and cycling was important for encouraging modal shifts towards sustainable travel and reducing car dependency.
In terms of agriculture, Mr Martin highlighted that Ireland has one of the most efficient and sustainable food production systems in Europe. Reducing chemical fertilisers, tree planting and boosting environmental incentives would support achieving reductions in a major emitting industry.