The installation of new domestic oil and gas boilers could be banned in the next few years under a new Government policy on tackling climate change.
The plan to reduce carbon emissions sets out dramatic policy changes in the areas of tax, waste, planning, transport, construction and agriculture.
The All of Government Plan to Tackle Climate Disruption is expected to be published by Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton in the coming weeks.
A draft of the plan seen by The Irish Times includes measures such as changing regulations to make all buildings more energy efficient; banning single-use plastic convenience items such as polystyrene food containers, cups and drinks containers; and reforming the vehicle registration and motor tax systems.
It also suggests banning the installation of gas and oil boilers in new homes within three and six years respectively, and potentially beginning a process to phase out the use of fossil fuel heating systems in all homes within six years among many other measures.
At the core of the plan is the promise to increase carbon tax from €20 to €80 per tonne by 2030.
It is also envisaged that 70 per cent of all electricity supply will be from renewable sources.
In transport all non-residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces will be obliged to install at least one charging point for electric cars by 2025.
Every home in the country will also be given a “smart meter” – it will allow people to read their electricity and gas consumption in real time – by 2024.
A change to building regulations would compel all homes undergoing a “major renovation” to bring the rest of the structure up to a minimum BER B2 rating. All new buildings must also be “near zero energy”. These changes would kick in in the near future.
“Over 80 per cent of our homes and other buildings have a BER rating of C or worse; and the current annual retrofit activity for existing stock is far too limited [approximately 23,000],” the report says.
“The most cost-effective abatement measure in the built environment is to retrofit existing dwellings that use oil boilers to B2 equivalent buildings energy rating. Introducing heat pumps and other low-carbon solutions in new residential and commercial buildings is expected to be most costly as gas is likely to remain the cheapest heating source. However, moving away from gas in new buildings is necessary.”
The Local Property Tax and stamp duty will be assessed to see if they can be used to promote major renovations to buildings, and all “key taxation levers, including environment and indirect taxation, direct taxation and corporate taxation” will be re-examined to help reduce carbon emissions.
The draft plan seen by The Irish Times is dated from last month, and it is understood work on finalising the document is ongoing prior to publication.
A new group will be established within the Department of the Taoiseach to oversee the implementation of the plan, with updates and progress reviewed by Cabinet every six months.
To provide oversight the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change would be given similar powers to the Public Accounts Committee.
A new parliamentary commissioner on climate action, within the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, is also suggested.