Policies, measures and actions on climate change and
environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery.
Last update 2 Sep. 2020
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Minister for Climate Action and Communications Networks / Minister for Transpor
- Emergency measures in the short term (a few months to one year) to address concerns that have directly emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and may include forced action.
- Socioeconomic measures in the medium term (one to a few years) with an environmental and climate focus to “build back better” from COVID-19, and usually involves planned, intentional action.
- Paradigm shifts and measures in the long term (more than a few years to a few decades) toward redesigning current socioeconomic and sociocultural systems to be sustainable and resilient.
1.Climate mitigation measures
Sustainable transportationRecoveryThe Irish Government introduced a Job Stimulus Plan (July Stimulus Package) in July 2020. The key aim of the Stimulus is to help get Ireland’s business back on their feet and get as many people as possible back to work quickly. It is the next stage in Ireland’s response to theCovid-19 crisis, building on the extensive business and employment supports already deployed. In total the stimulus package is worth approximately €7.4 billion, including tax, expenditure and credit supports.
The Stimulus will:
• Help business to protect jobs and create new jobs
• Support people without jobs, especially young people
• Build confidence and solidarity in consumers and communities
• Start preparing for a greener, more sustainable economy in the future
In addition further steps will be taken in the upcoming ‘Budget 2021’ in October, including the publication of a National Economic Plan, which will set out our long-term jobs recovery path. Taking into account other challenges, such as Brexit which will bring monumental change, in particular for businesses trading with or through the UK from Ireland and the move to remote working, online trading and digital services, which have accelerated during the pandemic. This will be a permanent feature of the economy which we must prepare for now. Most of important of all, businesses and workers will also need to continue to transition successfully to the green economy of the future, which will have profound implications for all sectors of our society and economy.
Reference High Level Info
Detailed Press Release
Ministers Ryan and Naughton welcome Jobs Stimulus Plan totaling €250m;body=http://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/95f23-ministers-ryan-and-naughton-welcome-jobs-stimulus-plan-totaling-250m/Contact Department of the Taoiseach
Transition to renewable energy€100 million has been allocated to the Energy Efficiency National Retrofit Programme. The National Retrofitting Programme, strengthens the commitment in the recent Programme for Government (2020) aimed at raising the energy rating of 500,000 homes and install 400,000 heat pumps in existing homes over the next 10 years to reduce carbon emissions and make homes more comfortable. There will be a focus on community retrofit schemes, retrofit schemes supporting those in energy poverty as well as other initiatives to support the achievement of our retrofit targets. The scheme will be implemented by the Sustainable Authority of Ireland.
Reference Energy efficently schemes
https://www.seai.ieContact Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Electricity Policy Division
Sustainable transportationAn additional allocation of €115m investment in sustainable mobility and the renewal of transport infrastructure as part of Ireland’s stimulus response to the impacts of COVID-19. This investment will –
• Support pedestrians and improve accessibility:
- €40m allocated to local authorities to improve pedestrian infrastructure across the country;
• Support cyclists in urban and rural Ireland:
- €42million allocated to local authorities to improve cycling infrastructure;
• Deliver new and expanded local bus services:
- €2million allocated to support new and expanded bus services in rural and urban areas;
• Improve rail journeys:
- €21million allocated to support and enhanced programme of track relaying on the main inter-urban route between Dublin and Cork to facilitate increased speeds as well as an expanded programme of ballast cleaning on the network generally; and
Provide grants for EVs for local link services:
- €250,000 will be put towards transitioning local link vehicles to zero-emission alternatives in rural parts of the country.Contact Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Land sectorAn allocation of €15million funding is allocated for multi-year programme to rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of peatlands with a strong focus on just transition for jobs and sustainable long-term job creation. Longer term impacts will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the area of wetland habitats which will lower carbon emissions by ~6tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year.Reference Employment Specific Info
https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7e4dd-backing-irelands-businesses-supporting-and-creating-jobs/Contact Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
-Climate and Environment Division
--Climate Mitigation - Commerical and Public Sector Divison
OthersAn allocation of €10million to support business engaging in green research, development and innovation, capital investment and capacity building, through the first phase of a new Green Enterprise FundContact Department of Business, Entrprise and Innovation
Transition to renewable energyResponse Recovery RedesignRenewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT)
The REFIT schemes (REFIT 1-3) were designed to provide certainty to renewable electricity generators by providing them with a minimum price for each unit of electricity exported to the grid over a maximum 15-year period. REFIT schemes/supports are funded by the Public Service Obligation (PSO) which is paid for by all electricity consumers. The REFIT schemes were designed to incentivise the development of renewable electricity generation in order to ensure Ireland meets its goal of 40% of electricity coming from renewable sources by the end of 2020.Contact Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Electricity Policy Division
Transition to renewable energyResponse Recovery RedesignRenewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS)
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Ireland has designed and developed a new support scheme for renewable electricity It’s primary objective is to incentivise sufficient renewable electricity production to enable Ireland to meet its 70% renewable electricity target and deliver its 2030 renewable electricity contribution to EU wide targets. This RESS will see a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators (existing REFIT feed in tariffs) to a more market oriented mechanism (renewable auctions) where the cost will be determined primarily by competitive bidding between renewable generators. The volumes to be procured under RESS will be informed by Ireland’s first National Energy and Climate Plan.
Other policy objectives that will be delivered under RESS include: increasing community participation in and ownership of renewable electricity projects; increasing renewable technology diversity; and enhancing security of supply. Further details of this supporting policy objectives set out below under 'cross-cutting' measures section.
Reference https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/energy/topics/Renewable-Energy/electricity/renewable-electricity-supports/refit/Pages/REFIT-Schemes-and-Supports.aspxContact Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Electricity Policy Division
Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)Response Recovery RedesignThe development of hydrogen is included in Ireland's National Energy and Climate Plan, and while it is not expected to have a significant impact in the period to 2030, hydrogen is expected to have a key role to play in Ireland’s pathway to decarbonisation and the actions taken in the coming period will significantly influence its role in the period 2030 to 2050. Investment in research and development in “green” hydrogen (generated using excess renewable energy) as a fuel for power generation, manufacturing, energy storage and transport is a priority in energy policy in Ireland’s Programme for Government, development of policy is at a very early stage.
Reference https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/energy/publications/Pages/National-Energy--Climate-Plan-(NECP)-2021-2030.aspxContact Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Business Energy & Gas Policy Division
Transition to renewable energyRecoveryThe Irish Government launched a specific 'Just Transition Fund' in 2020 (JTF) as a key pillar of the government’s just transition plan for a specific region in Ireland which has been undergoing a move away from the use of peat as an energy source, the Midlands region. A 2020 fund of €11 million will be available for projects focusing on retraining workers and proposals to generate sustainable employment in green enterprise in the region, and supporting communities to transition to a low carbon economy. it will support and reinforce the other just transition and peat protection measures underway. The objective of the Just Transition Fund 2020 call is to fund innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustain. The 2020 call had three priorities:
1. Employment and Enterprise Supports: To support innovation and investment proposals to generate sustainable employment in green enterprise
2. Training Supports: To retrain and reskill workers to assist local communities and businesses in the Wider Midlands to adjust to the low carbon transition
3. Community Transitioning Supports: To support proactive communications with affected communities and other stakeholders in the region, establish best practice sharing networks, and assist in developing local transition plansability of the Wider Midlands region and which have employment and enterprise potential. It will support projects that take a whole-of-Midlands strategic approach and complement other sources of public funding. The Government has also been supporting ongoing research into just transitioning away from a reliance on carbon intensive energy sources and has supported the publication of four reports by a Government funded research body, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). The NESC reports looks at areas such as protecting vulnerable employees, how other regions have successsful (or not) adapted, and also the impact of digitalisation. In addition, the Minister appointed a Just Transition Commissioner in late 2019 to inform the process and engage with stakeholders in the region. The Commissioner has published an interim progress report.Reference https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ed10d-just-transition-fund/ https://www.nesc.ie/work-programme/transition-teams/ https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/news-and-media/press-releases/Pages/Just-Transition-Progress-Report-is-released.aspxContact Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Just Transition, Built Environment, Carbon Pricing, Cross-cutting Policies, Transport Division
OthersRecoveryThe Irish Government have committed to introduce a Climate Action (Amendment) Bill to Parliament by end of 2020. The objective of the Bill is to build on the existing 2015 Act and provide for a significantly strengthened statutory framework for governance of the climate challenge and to ensure continual long-term planning for the realisation of Ireland’s 2050 vision, enforcing climate targets and reporting progress on the way, including but not limited to :
• establishing a 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in law;
• establishing the Climate Action Council as a successor organisation to the Climate Change Advisory Council with implications for revised governance and remit, including advising on economy-wide carbon budgets;
• making the adoption of carbon budgets a legal requirement;
• requiring the Government to set a economy wide decarbonisation target range for each sector.
• establishing that the Climate Action Plan shall be updated annually, with actions in every sector;
• ensuring that the proposed governance arrangements retain sufficient flexibility to allow necessary reorientation of policy in the light of changing technologies, circumstances, challenges and opportunities over the period to 2030 and beyond; and
This will provide security and transparency and importantly enhance achievement of Ireland's long-term climate objectives.
Reference https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/climate-action/legislation/Pages/General-Scheme-Climate-Action-Amendment-Bill.aspxContact Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
-Climate Co-ordination, Governance and Planning Division
Technological innovation (digitalization / hydrogen/ CCUS‚ etc.)Response RecoveryClimate Action Fund (CAF) The CAF was set up to support the funding of initiatives of public and private bodies which contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s climate and energy targets in a cost effective manner. The CAF is one of the National Development Plan funds and has an allocation of at least €500 million over the period to 2027 which will come from the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) levy. The CAF seeks to support projects that would not otherwise be developed and seeks to facilitate projects that as well as having a climate impact will also contribute to other Government policy priorities related to climate and the environment.
In late 2018 seven projects from the first call for funding requests were successful in their applications for CAF support. Once validation is complete, up to €77 million of support will be provided to these projects and this should leverage a total of €300 million investment.
A second call is expected later in 2020.Reference https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/climate-action/topics/climate-action-fund/Pages/default.aspxContact Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment
Transport Energy and Climate Action Fund
Building sectorResponse Recovery RedesignEU Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD), sets requirements at an EU level for Member States to improve the energy performance of buildings and to make an important contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Major Renovations to dwellings will be required to achieve a cost optimal performance. This is in line with the National Development plan and will bring dwellings undergoing Major Renovation to a B2 Rated BER. A major renovation occurs when more than 25% of the building envelope is renovated.
NZEB for non-residential buildings was introduced into the Building Regulations in December 2017. This specifies NZEB performance requirements for new non-residential buildings and Major Renovation requirements for existing buildings – and is a significant change. These new performance requirements improve the energy and carbon emissions performance in the order of 60% and introduce mandatory renewables on all new non-residential buildings. These regulations apply to works to new and existing buildings which commence after 1st of January 2019 subject to a one year transition.
Contact Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
2.Climate adaptation measures
Adaptation planningRedesignThe Climate Action Regional Offices, which were set up in 2018 and are operated by a lead Local Authority in four different regions grouped according to shared climate change risks. The CAROS liaise with respective government departments and Local Authorities with regards to climate action. They also have developed education and awareness initiatives for the public, schools, NGOs and other agencies engaged in driving the climate change agenda; planned climate action training for Local Authorities have been redesigned to account for Covid-19 but continue to be undertaken.Contact Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment
Climate Adaptation and Engagment Division
InfrastructureResponse Recovery RedesignThe July Stimulus Package allocated an additional €10 million to adapt roads to the effects of climate change, which including repairs to damaged roads as a result of severe weather events, improved drainage provision, and the upgrade of certain strategic roads to protect them from the effects of climate change.Contact Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
WaterResponse Recovery RedesignThe 2019 Climate Action Plan sets out actions across every sector of society which will ensure Ireland meets our 2030 climate commitments, putting us on a trajectory to be net zero emissions by 2050. Included in the Plan are climate adaptation measures, which build upon the National Adaptation Framework (NAF), with seven Government Departments leading in the preparation of 12 Sectoral Adaptation Plans including the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government two water related sectoral plans - Water Quality and Water Services Infrastructure. The sectoral plans will inform the design, resourcing and review of policies and measures, and provide strategic direction across the water quality and water services infrastructure sectors going forward. Adaptive measures set out include;
• Fully adopt the ‘integrated catchment management’ approach.
• Improve treatment capacity and network functions for water services infrastructure.
• Water resource planning and conservation – on both supply and demand sides.
• Include climate measures in monitoring programmes and research.
• Many of these proposed adaptation actions are already underway through existing and scheduled water sector plans and programmes.
Reference https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/climate-action/topics/adapting-to-climate-change/national-adaptation-framework/sectoral-adaptation-planning/Pages/Sectoral.aspxContact Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Urban/rural development (energy access etc.)Response Recovery RedesignThe recently published Programme for Government, priortises the development of a microgeneration scheme by June 2021 and to ensure that community energy can play a role in meetign at least 70% renewable electricity, including a community benefit fund and a communty category with the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme acuction. An enabling framework for microgeneration which tackles existing barriers and establishes suitable supports within relevant market segments is under development. The proposed support mechanism will be outlined in a public consultation in Q3,2020 and a suitable support payment for excess electricity generated on site and exported to the grid will be available to all micro-generators by 2021. A Solar Strategy is currently under development.
Reference https://www.dccae.gov.ieContact Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment
Citizens’ lives (behaviour change) / employmentResponse Recovery RedesignThe National Climate Change Action & Awareness Programme key aim is to promote climate change awareness and behaviour change at school, third level and community level intuitions. This Programme, addressed to schoolchildren, has been revised and is now being delivered remotely due to Covid-19. Discussion are ongoing with the Department and An Taisce, who run the programme to ensure the overall objectives are met in the face of new challenging environment.Reference https://greenschoolsireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Green-Schools-Climate-Action-Teacher-Resource.pdf and https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/climate-action/topics/climate-action-plan/PlayingYourPart/community/Pages/Communities.aspxContact Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment
Climate Adaptation and Engagment Division
OthersResponse Recovery RedesignCommunity Enabling Framework
A cornerstone of the new RESS is the provision of pathways for increased community ownership, participation in, and benefit from, renewable electricity projects. To facilitate delivery of this objective an Enabling Framework for Community Participation has been developed. The enabling Framework is comprised of four pillars;
• Preference for Community Projects in RESS auctions- RESS-1 auction includes a community preference category of up to 30 GWh. This category has been developed specifically to allow communities and citizens to participate in RESS. It is open only to projects that are at least 51% owned by the local community and some of the projects entering the category are 100% community-owned. The maximum project size is 5MW.
• Community Supports- A package of enabling supports including technical, financial and legal services that will be put in place to assist communities in navigating the challenging terrain of electricity generation. These supports will feed a pipeline of community projects into future RESS.
• Community Benefit Fund-Under the terms and conditions RESS all projects supported by the scheme – the vast majority of which will be developer=led projects - must establish a Community Benefit Fund. This is to ensure that the local community receives actual direct benefits from the renewable project located in their locality
• Investment opportunities in developer-led projects- As well as the Community Benefit Fund, it is envisaged that there would be shared investment or ownership opportunities in these projects for future auctions under RESS. The Department continues to explore options in this area.
Sustainable finance (public/private)/market mechanisms/carbon pricingResponse Recovery RedesignSustainable Finance
Ireland is home to a vibrant financial services sector that has grown substantially over the last three decades, with a number of initiatives currently been pursued in relation to private finance mobilisation. In particular, sustainable finance is a horizontal priority within the Government’s strategy for the further development of the international financial services sector, ‘Ireland for Finance’, which was launched in April 2019 and which strives to make Ireland a true leader in this field. Actions delivered in 2019 include (i) engaging at the EU level on sustainable finance proposals; (ii) continuing to raise awareness of the responsible investment agenda; (iii) engaging in international collaboration to mobilise global financial centres in support of the sustainability agenda; (iv and (vii) co-hosting the European Climate Finance Innovation Summit.
International collaboration is achieved through Ireland’s membership of the UN Environment Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) international network, with Ireland also hosting the European node of FC4S. Furthermore, the Irish Department of Finance has worked to progress private sector mobilisation through initiatives such as the introduction of Ireland’s first Sovereign Green Bonds and the listing in Dublin of the World Bank Global Sustainable Development Bond. It has also worked closely with industry to help the designation of the Dublin Stock Exchange as a hub for Green Bonds and other ESG-related bonds, including Blue, Social, Sustainability and Sustainability-linked Bonds.Reference https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-public-expenditure-and-reform/
https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-finance/Contact Department of Finace
4.Other environmental measures
Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumptionResponse RecoveryThe Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy is an ambitious new waste policy which will include a range of measures to reform and strengthen how we manage our waste. It will inform future cycles of waste management planning and support our transition to a more circular economy. The Plan places a greater focus on prevention through product design and consumer choice, and will reflect and exceed the level of ambition in the Single Use Plastics Directive and the EUs Circular Economy Package.Reference http://www.epa.ie/waste/nwpp/sectors/Contact Bernie Kiely, WPRE, DCCAE (email@example.com)
Measures related to ecosystem services / biodiversity / land use / agricultureRecoveryAs part of the Irish Government's 'July Stimulus Package', an additional €1 million has been allocated for specific biodiversity measures and the National Parks & Wildlife Service (Science & Biodiversity) is examining a range of additional projects across its remit in the context of recovery and ongoing efforts to halt biodiversity loss; The Programme for Government outlines a number of measures and supports for biodiversity, across sectors, including linkages between the biodiversity crisis and the climate change crisis, and recognising the role of stakeholders including local communities, landowners and local authorities in meeting the challenges presented by these; the recently launched EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 proposes far-reaching and ambitious targets to protect and restore nature and biodiversity across the EU. The Strategy will help frame measures to halt biodiversity loss in the context of recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and beyond across the EU 27. It will be an important element of the position of EU & its MS in negotiating a durable and effective post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021. In this, Ireland supports a strong and coherent EU position for nature.Reference https://www.chg.gov.ie
https://www.npws.ieContact Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
COVID19 recovery and climate change mitigationRecovery RedesignIreland has agreed to provide €10million for solar energy in the West Bank, in collaboration with FranceContact Development Cooperation Directorate, Department of Foreign Affairs. Ben Siddle
COVID19 recovery and climate change adaptationResponse Recovery RedesignIreland has committed to delivering 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2030. Ireland’s ODA budget for 2020 has been set at almost €838 million. This represents an increase of almost €21 million on the 2019 allocation, and the sixth consecutive year allocations to ODA have increased. Our new government's programme has reiterated a commitment to double the proportion of our ODA that is climate finance by 2030.Reference Instruments include core funding to the International Institute for Environment and Development, the Least Developed Countries Fund, and a new mechanism LIFE-AR.Contact Development Cooperation Directorate, Department of Foreign Affairs. Ben Siddle
COVID19 recovery and other environmental issuesResponse Recovery RedesignIreland will continute to support those countries that are poorest and most vulnerable to climate shocks and ensure that climate change is included as a core theme in strategy development in the countries where Ireland has a significant development cooperation programmeContact Development Cooperation Directorate, Department of Foreign Affairs. Ben Siddle
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- The European Commission
- The Marshall Islands
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- The Philippines
- Republic of Korea
- San Marino
- Sao Tome and Principe
- The United Kingdom