Cabinet to discuss ‘enormous social change’ needed to decarbonise economy

Castletown House in Co Kildare is venue for Cabinet’s first ‘away day’ planning session

Denis Naughten hopes the plan, which his department describes as a “living document”, will kick off a national dialogue. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Denis Naughten hopes the plan, which his department describes as a “living document”, will kick off a national dialogue. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Ways to reduce the impact of climate change in Ireland and the status of the economy are to dominate the agenda of a day-long Cabinet meeting due to take place in Celbridge, Co Kildare, on Wednesday.

The “strategic planning” session at Castletown House comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that nothing less than “fundamental societal transformation” was necessary to decarbonise the economy.

Ministers will hear a 30-minute presentation from Minister for Climate Change Denis Naughten on the National Mitigation Plan which has already been approved by Government, but which requires “buy in” on implementation from individual departments.

National dialogue

Mr Naughten hopes the plan, which his department describes as a “living document”, will kick off a national dialogue on the fiscal and other steps which are necessary to move the economy – and society – from dependence on measures which release carbon.

Brian Carroll assistant secretary general of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment said the challenge facing policy makers would require “enormous social change” and would need the backing of the “hearts and minds” of Irish people.

At about midday on Wednesday the plan and the full list of 106 proposed “actions” across all of government will be published on the website of the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Environment.

Measures

The published plan will include sections on measures already in place, measures under consideration and the distance to achieving emissions reductions targets. It is anticipated that as individual Government departments’ policy changes are implemented the distance to targets will change, and the plan will be continually updated.

A spokeswoman for Mr Naughten said the meting represented the start of a “whole-of-Government approach” to climate change.

Key Ministers in charge of agriculture, transport, planning and environment, Michael Creed, Shane Ross, Eoghan Murphy and Denis Naughten respectively have jointly signed the forward to the plan, which also contains a message from the Taoiseach Mr Varadkar.

The afternoon session is expected to consider the broader economy and is expected to look at longer-term funding needs for infrastructure, particularly Irish Water.