Sustainable Nation Ireland has warmly welcomed the unveiling of the Government’s detailed Climate Action Plan 2019, which contains 183 comprehensive actions that will transform Ireland into a low-carbon nation over the next three decades.
Sustainable Nation CEO Stephen Nolan said the plan underpinned the critical role that capital markets will play in making the changes a reality. He added: “An ‘All of Government Plan’ is the only way to solve the climate challenges that we all face.
“This ambitious programme is a unified approach that embraces the State as well as business and industry, and which recognises the pivotal role that capital markets will play in helping to tackle a climate crisis that impacts everybody.
“2019 has already seen some momentous moments for the sustainability agenda and it is fitting that the Climate Action Plan has been launched in the Year of Sustainable Finance and ahead of Climate Finance Week in November.”
The Climate Action Plan 2019 is the most ambitious and all-encompassing programme ever undertaken to get Ireland’s house in order, with a planned gradual winddown of our reliance on fossil fuels and a ramping up of renewable energy use.
The plan, which would make Ireland one of Europe’s leading green nations – uses the same model as the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and cuts across energy, transport, housing, education, agriculture, enterprise, waste and the public sector.
Measures include huge increases in the number of EVs (Electric Vehicles), a phasing out of oil-fired boilers and diesel cars in our cities, an end to single-use plastic, the retrofitting of homes to improve energy efficiency across the country as well as smarter and more sustainable public and commercial buildings.
Changes to pension funds are also planned with people having a greater say in making sure their pensions will no longer be invested in fossil fuels – while government agencies and bodies will prioritise low-carbon investments.
The ‘All of Government approach’ is designed to ensure that the State and all of its agencies tackle the climate crisis at the same time and in a unified manner with clear milestones and targets that will benefit citizens’ lives and those of future generations.
There is an important emphasis on the financing of the Climate Action Plan actions – capital markets will ultimately provide the huge sums needed to pay for the key projects and radical transformations that are planned.
A key pillar of the Climate Action Plan 2019 is the implementation of new strategy for Ireland’s international financial services sector, which will build on the work carried out by Sustainable Nation Ireland since 2015 and stakeholders including the Department of Finance to drive the sustainable finance agenda.
Stephen Nolan added: “The capital markets possess the funds required to pay for the projects that will ultimately preserve our planet. The Government has recognised this by prioritising the rapid expansion of our international financial services and Ireland’s growing stature as a global hub for sustainable finance and expertise.
“I am delighted to see that this is listed as Action 11 out of 183 separate actions contained in the plan. From our perspective, this is a powerful validation of the work undertaken by all of our stakeholders and, in particular, the Department of Finance, in driving the sustainable finance agenda and the work of Finance Green Ireland, Ireland’s response to the global call to mobilise investment to tackle climate change.”
Action 11 will “implement new strategy for international financial services to promote the development of the sustainable finance sector in Ireland.”
Key stakeholders including Sustainable Nation Ireland will assist the Department of Finance in monitoring how sustainable finance measures are being implemented with the goal of shaping Ireland’s low-carbon, sustainable economy.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in launching the plan, said “the greatest responsibility we have is to pass on our planet to the next generation in a better condition than we inherited it.
“We recognise that Government doesn’t have all the answers….our approach will be to nudge people and businesses to change behaviour and adapt new technologies through incentives, disincentives, regulations and information. Our objective… is to transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society. This Plan represents the sum of our hopes for the future. Our call to action in the fight to save our planet.”