So, what does the Supreme Court Ruling mean for our plan to decarbonise?
Published on the 31st July – The Irish Supreme Court has ruled that the National Mitigation Plan on climate change fails to comply with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 because it doesn’t clearly set out how the national transition objective of decarbonising Irish society is to be achieved. The ruling further indicates that the plan lacks specificity and ambition. Ireland is obliged to cut its emissions by 80% by 2050 (from1990 levels) and this target, known as the National Transitional Objective (NTO), will now have to be re-examined.
So, what will this mean for the Irish State’s plan to decarbonise…
One would think that the practice of addressing what are clearly today’s problems by 2030, 2040 or indeed 2050 needs to stop. Whilst the government’s position that “a balanced approach is necessary” has been acknowledged all along, we can no longer afford to address today’s problems tomorrow. The ruling will likely strengthen the position for the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Mr. Eamonn Ryan T.D. in government discussions.
This could have further ramifications across Europe where Governments will now have a legal as well as a moral obligation to do more to protect their citizens from the worst impact of the climate crisis and will be further challenged to transition to a low carbon and environmentally sustainable economy in way that is clear, transparent, effective and legally compliant.
The narrative around climate change has been continuously shifting and while we come more to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic, consensus suggests that global economy is likely to return to a pattern of significant growth in the not too distant future. We must ensure that investment in our recovery also supports progress to our climate commitments and it is therefore imperative that energy efficiency and renewable efforts are ramped up and incentivised sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, from a business perspective, organisations are working very hard to mitigate losses and embracing energy efficiency is another proven way to mitigate such losses. There are so many energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities and solutions available today, along with so much untapped potential and low hanging fruit – that putting “Energy Efficiency First” in business is even more important than ever!
The Government has committed to introducing a Climate Action Bill in the Dáil within the first 100 days of government and, according to Minister Ryan, “We must use this judgement to raise ambition, empower action and ensure that our shared future delivers a better quality of life for all”.
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