The first phase of the Government’s Climate Action Bill could commence in the summer, according to the Minister for Environment and Climate.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland he expects the Bill to pass through the houses of the Oireachtas in a few weeks.
It would take several decades for Ireland to become carbon neutral, he said, but 2021 was the year that the first of the three five year plans needed to commence so there was a timeline urgency.
A lot of the work on the Climate Action Bill had already been done by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change which had spent a lot of time talking to experts and had come up with 74 recommendations, many of which had been incorporated in the Bill, explained Mr Ryan.
The new action plan needed to be in place this summer and Ireland was starting to show leadership on the issue: “We are tired of being considered laggards.”
Mr Ryan said that if the country began falling behind in some sectors, then policies would be implemented to “catch up.”
Plans to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in emissions should be a target that the public would embrace enthusiastically not a “hardship posting”.
Ireland already had energy systems in place across the country that could make a difference, he said.
The future of agriculture was an opportunity to support nature, Mr Ryan added.
On the issue of the amount of red tape which farmers faced when changing style of farming, the Minister acknowledged that the regulations needed to change.
His colleague Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, would deliver a change to regulations and supports to farmers.
The Climate Action Bill was saying to the public service that they needed to be prepared to act fast and collaboratively. There would be a need to innovate and experiment and it was up to Ireland to show leadership.