It is imperative we now have a clear roadmap on how we can practically achieve the 51% national emissions reduction target for 2030 across each sector, says Denis Naughten TD.
“Across each of the sectors we are now seeking monumental change over the next 89 months, a rate of change that has not been achieved anywhere on our planet. This can only be realistically achieved through the development of innovative solutions to address Ireland’s unique challenges,” stated Denis Naughten.
“The fact that 37% of our population live in isolated rural areas and are reliant to such a huge extent on solid and oil-fired central heating are examples of these unique challenges. The National Broadband Plan will help to reduce transport emissions within these communities, but this can only be achieved through positive supports for remote working.
“At the other end of the spectrum, despite the investment in public transport, up to half of all people commute to work in Dublin by car. BusConnects hopes to make public transport more attractive, but we also need disincentives to bring the car into the city.
“So, we need more measures that address our very unique emission profile.
“To achieve this, we need to encourage the development of innovative solutions to help fast-track the delivery of some of the goals set out in the sectoral targets and I firmly believe that this should be encouraged by re-purposing the climate action fund.
“The €500 million Government climate action fund was designed to offer the innovation needed to provide fossil fuel alternatives in an Irish context, but it is instead being raided to replace other Government co-financing commitments.
“While initially the fund was also used to progress flagship projects to implementation, it must now be primarily focused on its initial goal of stimulating innovative solutions to drive down Ireland’s emissions”
Denis Naughten added: “It is not possible to achieve our overall 51% emission reduction by 2030 using existing technology and what we now need are innovative solutions that can specifically address the unique climate challenges facing Irish society.
“Now that the targets have been set by Government, we need to double our efforts to achieve them, and the sectors involved need new tools to add to the existing ones if they are to achieve these goals by 2030.
“While many within the agriculture sector will be disappointed with the 25% target set for it, my real fear is that regardless of the individual targets set for each sector, if there is a failure to achieve that sectoral target by 2030, then a greater level of the overall ask will be placed on agriculture & food production, regardless of the initial target signed off by Cabinet today.
“Government must assure the farming sector that if the other sectors fail to achieve their targets then farmers will not be faced with an even bigger ask in 2029 or 2030,” concluded Denis Naughten.
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Tuesday, 8 March 2022
- Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the total amount of funding committed and drawn down under the Climate Action Fund for each successful project; the overall amount of funding committed to date; the funding allocated for innovative ground-breaking climate projects; if the details of such projects will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13084/22]
Written answers (Question to Environment)
At least €500 million will be available from the Climate Action Fund over the period to 2027 to support projects, initiatives and research that contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s climate and energy targets and goals. In addition, the Government will make major investments through substantial other funding, set out in the National Development Plan. To date, over €140 million has been committed from the Climate Action Fund for a range of projects, including in relation to district heating, EV infrastructure, creative climate action, co-financing for EU LIFE projects, and a Community Climate Action Programme. Through the Community Climate Action Programme, announced in November 2021, €60 million will be invested in community climate action projects and initiatives, as well as capacity building, over the next three years. Under this Programme, an open call was launched by Pobal in November 2021. A total of 72 applications were received in response to this call and are currently being assessed.
In terms of funds drawn down, 4 projects from the first call under the Climate Action Fund are currently in delivery and eligible to draw down funds. The details are as follows:
|Project||Approved Funding €||Funds Drawn Down €|
|Tallaght District Heating Scheme||4,447,952||0|
|Irish Rail – Hybrid Drive for Inter City Railcar Fleet (Test Phase)||€1,120,000||318,000|
|3CEA Driving HGV Efficiency into Brexit||1,373,400||77,872|
Further information on the projects approved to proceed to validation stage under the first call are available at this link: www.gov.ie/en/publication/de5d3-climate-action-fund/.
A further 14 projects have been approved for funding from the Climate Action Fund under the €2 million Creative Climate Action initiative, a collaboration supported by the Climate Action Fund and the Creative Ireland Programme (run by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media). No funds from the Climate Action Fund have been drawn down to date in relation to this initiative as the Creative Ireland Programme funds are being used in the first place for these projects. Climate Action Fund funds are expected to be drawn down later this year. Further details on the projects are available at this link – www.creativeireland.gov.ie/en/blog/creative-climate-action-fund-projects/.
The remaining commitments mainly relate to projects progressing through validation, projects currently being assessed under the Community Climate Action Programme open call, and projects awaiting the approval under the EU LIFE Programme required to secure final approval to co-financing from the Climate Action Fund.
In relation to innovative projects, innovation has been a key criterion in the assessment of projects for funding from the Climate Action Fund to date. For example, the Tallaght District Heating System is the first of its kind in Ireland and will use waste heat from a data centre to heat surrounding buildings. The Creative Climate Action Fund initiative is seeking to engage citizens in climate action in innovative and creative ways. Innovation is also a key criterion in the assessment of projects under the Community Climate Action Programme open call.
As a next step, an open call will be developed for launch in 2022 aimed at providing funding for further projects aligned with the priorities of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021. Work on the development of this call will commence shortly. Details on the scope of the call and eligibility criteria will be available on my Department’s website in due course.