Call for Expert Evidence – Climate Action Plan 2024 Consultation

The Climate Action Plan 2024 (CAP24) will be the second Climate Action Plan published since the adoption of Ireland’s legally-binding carbon budgets. It is Community Law and Mediation’s (CLM) contention that in developing CAP24, lessons must be taken from the failures of Climate Action Plan 2023 and its corresponding Annex of Actions. In particular, CAP24 must detail and quantify how deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in emissions will be delivered, and include measures to ensure their successful and timely implementation.

Amidst the hottest June on record for Ireland and successive scientific reports, described by the United Nations Secretary-General as an “atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” it is deeply troubling that Ireland’s emissions remain among the highest per capita in the EU and are continuing to rise. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently warned that the Climate Action Plan 2023 – if fully implemented – will exceed the first two legally-binding carbon budgets (2021-2025; 2026-2030) by 22%, “a significant margin.” The EPA has called for the urgent implementation of “policies that deliver emission reductions across all sectors in the short term” in order to adhere to the carbon budget program. In response to the EPA’s assessment, the Climate Change Advisory Council further warned that “The Government needs to set out credible and detailed implementation plans to enable us to achieve our ambitious targets.” The Council previously highlighted in their 2021 and 2022 Annual Reports that considerable gaps remain between proposed climate action measures and implementation.

CAP24 must therefore deliver “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented” reductions in emissions in order to limit the human rights impacts of climate change and to comply with Ireland’s legal duty to take climate action consistent with a 1.5°C threshold. The longer climate action is delayed, the more difficult it will be. As the impacts of climate change worsen, and as the window to remain within 1.5°C narrows, the policy response may become abrupt, forceful, and disorderly. Communities should instead be empowered and supported through an inclusive and fair transition. While climate change is often described as a “threat multiplier,” Community Law and Mediation believe that climate action can be a justice multiplier when underpinned by science and human rights.

To read our full submission in response to Call for Expert Evidence – Climate Action Plan 2024 Consultation, see below: