Climate Action Plan: almost a quarter of measures delayed

Coalition leaders stress urgency and say plan must be accelerated

Almost a quarter of the measures in the Government’s Climate Action Plan have been delayed, according to the latest update on Ireland’s attempts to tackle climate change.

Coalition leaders said efforts must be accelerated after the latest update showed that targets for 23 per cent of the actions due for completion by the end of September were missed.

Delayed “high-impact” measures include developing plans for managing the environmental footprint of the beef and dairy sectors and the rollout of a strategy to increase uptake of electric vehicles.

A Government statement said 77 per cent of measures were implemented, but it added there was a need to overcome delays: “not least against the backdrop of severe climate change impacts witnessed” in the third quarter of this year.


The Climate Action Plan Progress Report highlights extreme weather events that occurred across the world this year including devastating floods in Pakistan and heatwaves in Europe that drove up excess deaths by 53,000 people.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin responded to the report saying he had highlighted the need for urgency during his address to the recent Cop27 climate summit in Egypt. “Every delay makes our task that bit bigger, and we need to translate our ambition into rapid action,” he said.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said significant progress was made in implementing the Climate Action Plan in the third quarter of the year but that “it’s clear we need to accelerate action in order to achieve our ambitious climate goals”.

Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan said Ireland had played a “huge role” at the Cop27 summit and that “here at home we need to focus on high-impact climate solutions that urgently address mitigation”. He said the report demonstrated clearly that “we still have a lot of work to do”.

Mr Ryan said the recently approved programme of carbon budgets and sectoral emission ceilings provided a strong pathway for efforts to meet Ireland’s 2030 and 2050 climate action targets. The Government is developing an updated climate action plan which is due to be published before the end of the year.

Further “high-impact” measures delayed as of the end of September included publishing a 10-year strategy for the haulage sector; developing an approach to retrofitting commercial buildings; and determining the appropriate model for the development and ownership of district heating systems. In total there are 166 delayed measures.

“Delays in climate action must be overcome to meet national and EU emissions reduction obligations,” the report says.

Key reasons for delays cited by Government departments include capacity and capability constraints across the public sector; lengthy stakeholder consultation processes; and the complexity of climate action delivery.

By department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform had the lowest delivery rate at 56 per cent, completing nine of 16 measures.

The Department of the Environment had a lower than average delivery rate of 68 per cent, with 139 of 204 measures completed. A source said the department had the most actions and biggest targets to meet and was dealing with issues of the most complexity in the midst of trying to respond to the energy crisis.

The Departments of Education; Higher Education; Foreign Affairs; Rural Development; and Social Protection all had a 100 per cent delivery rate. The Departments of the Taoiseach and Agriculture were both on 81 per cent.

The Government did point to a number of “high-impact” measures completed by the end of September. These include an increase of use in clover for grazing, interim planning exemptions for solar panels, energy demand management measures for large users, afforestation projects and enacting the Circular Economy Bill.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times