Business reacts to Climate Action Plan

December 21, 2022

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today noted the Government’s approval and publication of an updated Climate Action Plan. Given the stringency of Ireland’s legally binding sectoral carbon budgets, as agreed by Cabinet earlier this year, clarity on the corresponding decarbonisation pathways is to be welcomed. However, Ibec cautions that the policy measures to achieve these trajectories need to be credible and subject to cost-benefit assessment.

Ibec Head of Infrastructure, Dr Neil Walker said: “Ibec concurs with the Government’s assessment that Irish road transport emissions, which have grown rapidly since Covid restrictions were lifted, need additional mitigation measures. The proposed reduction in private car mileage will require an accelerated shift towards urban infill, enabling greater use of active travel and efficient public transport services. Without this, it will be difficult to gain public acceptance for measures such as congestion charging. Decarbonising road freight could prove even more challenging. The haulage industry operates on very low margins, so has limited scope for investing in more modern diesel-fuelled vehicles, let alone the costlier drive train alternatives such as battery electric or hydrogen.”

As noted by several speakers at a recent conference jointly hosted by the Ibec-CBI Joint Business Council, by far the greatest sectoral ambition is in electricity generation. Progress to date has been impressive but achieving the 2030 target will entail not only the establishment of a streamlined planning and consents regime for terrestrial and marine renewables, but also a greatly increased investment port handling capacity and skilled workers to install the infrastructure. It remains to be seen whether these enabling factors will be in place sufficiently early.