Long-awaited Mitigation Plan does little to transform Ireland’s climate response

July 19 2017, 01:27pm

Stop Climate Chaos Coalition
For immediate release
19 July 2017

Long-awaited Mitigation Plan does little to transform Ireland’s climate response

The Government today released its action plan on climate change, the National Mitigation Plan, following a consultation earlier this year. While the Plan lists 106 actions, Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of 32 organisations campaigning for climate action in Ireland, said that due to the absence of new concrete policies across polluting sectors, the Plan does little of substance to change Ireland’s reputation as a climate laggard.

The Plan fails to take account of the damaging environmental, human and reputational effects of failing to take immediate action. The Government’s narrow framing of decisions on Ireland’s response as a mere question of costs is also deeply troubling. The Plan presents the scope of climate action as almost entirely reliant on minimising short-term costs and not on the positive impacts that reducing pollution would deliver – both in terms of meeting Ireland’s climate obligations and delivering societal and environmental benefits.

On reviewing the document, Catherine Devitt of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, a spokesperson for the coalition, commented:

The finalised Plan does not reflect the level of action that Ireland committed to when it ratified the Paris Agreement just eight months ago. It fails to offer anything new in terms of substantive and just climate action. This will have significant environmental and human costs, affecting the poorest communities here in Ireland and abroad’

The Coalition emphasised that, after five years without any national strategy, it is a matter of critical urgency that the National Mitigation Plan delivers concrete reductions in polluting emissions across the buildings, agricultural, transport, and energy sectors. However, many of the measures in the Plan are old or existing, involve promises to make future decisions and differ little from the utterly inadequate draft Plan released for consultation in April. It does not clearly set out how specific actions will deliver the necessary reductions in pollution that will ensure Ireland’s national and EU obligations will be met.

Commenting, Kevin O’Farrell from - the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network said:

For the transport sector the plan very heavily relies on technology and behavioural change without any serious commitment to realign investment meaningfully towards walking, cycling and clean public transport which would facilitate a more speedy transition away from fossil fuel dependence.’

Without clear plans to ‘lock out’ fossil fuels, the Plan is also a long way from outlining the transformational change that is required in the energy sector to put it on a climate friendly, future-proof pathway.

Ireland’s reputation among EU partners has already suffered as the Government has repeatedly called for less demanding obligations rather than planning on how to meet them, thereby undermining rather than supporting EU collective action on climate change.


For more information or to arrange interviews contact Jerry Mac Evilly, Policy Coordinator, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition at

Notes for the Editor

Further background information on the National Mitigation Plan and necessary Government action is available in the following documents:

The National Mitigation Plan is 5 years late, the last one expired at the end of 2012.

Ireland is the third highest producer of emissions per person in the EU, and eighth in the OECD with polluting emissions increasing by 3.7% in 2015.

Ireland is only one of two countries in the European Union which will miss its 2020 emission reduction targets.

The National Policy Position on Climate Action sets a national objective of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 and capturing all our agricultural emissions by planting more trees and restoring our peatland bogs.

To meet the Government's national objective for 2050:

- combined emissions from everything bar agriculture have to decrease by 5% a year, every year from now to 2050.

- emissions from agriculture will have to be reduced by at least 50% from now to 2050

Our total carbon budget for the period 2016-2050 will be used up by 2030 if emissions continue on their current path.

Ireland faces financial penalties if we fail to cut emissions of:

- up to €600 million by 2020 (22% of projected net fiscal space in 2020)

- between €3bn and €6bn by 2030 (for comparison, during the Troika years current expenditure fell by €4.6bn)