Want to Participate? Here’s how!

As a follow up to my previous post here is the information, context and questions contained in the long term strategy survey – consultation. Take time to devise responses, perhaps in a document format and then copy and paste them in before December 31st. I have filled in the first 3 to show you it is not rocket science. You don’t have to fill them all in either – stick to what you know and would like to influence. Feel free to share your responses to help inspire others. Perhaps meet with others to make a joint submission if you want a more detailed response. Or do both! Your PPN Public Participation Network may be devising a response.

Public consultation on Ireland’s Long-Term Strategy

Background

Article 15 of the EU Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action requires each Member State to prepare and submit to the Commission a long-term strategy with a perspective of at least 30 years by 1 January 2020 and that the long-term strategy should contribute to: 

·     fulfilling the Union’s and the Member States’ commitments under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and enhance removals by sinks and to promote increased carbon sequestration;

·         fulfilling the objective of the Paris Agreement of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1,5 °C above pre-industrial levels;

·         achieving long-term greenhouse gas emission reductions and enhancements of removals by sinks in all sectors in accordance with the Union’s objective, in the context of necessary reductions according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to reduce the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner and enhance removals by sinks in pursuit of the temperature goals in the Paris Agreement so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases within the Union as early as possible and, as appropriate, achieve negative emissions thereafter;

Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 provides that Member States’ long-term strategies shall cover: 

(a) total greenhouse gas emission reductions and enhancements of removals by sinks; 

(b) emission reductions and enhancements of removals in individual sectors, including electricity, industry, transport, the heating and cooling and buildings sector (residential and tertiary), agriculture, waste and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF); 

(c) expected progress on transition to a low greenhouse gas emission economy, including greenhouse gas intensity, CO2 intensity of gross domestic product, related estimates of long-term investment, and strategies for related research, development and innovation;

(d) to the extent feasible, expected socio-economic effect of the decarbonisation measures, including, inter alia, aspects related to macro-economic and social development, health risks and benefits and environmental protection; and 

(e) links to other national long-term objectives, planning and other policies and measures, and investment.

On 28 November 2018, the European Commission published its Communication, “A Clean Planet for all”, which sets out a strategic vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy by 2050. The Commission’s Communication began the process of developing an EU long-term strategy.

The Commission Communication sets out pathways consistent with the achievement of the 2⁰C and 1.5⁰C goals of the Paris Agreement and describes eight scenarios which vary in focus and in ambition, aiming to achieve reductions of between 80% (for compliance with the 2⁰C target) and 100% (which would comply with the 1.5⁰C target) in the EU’s GHG emissions by 2050 relative to 1990 levels and focus on varying sectoral emissions. 

The Paris Agreement also invites all Parties to communicate, by 2020, to the UNFCCC, mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission strategies.

Current national objective for 2050

In June 2019, the government agreed to support the adoption of a net zero target by 2050 at EU level, and to pursue a trajectory of emissions reduction nationally which is in line with reaching net zero in Ireland by 2050, and to evaluate in detail the changes which would be necessary in Ireland to achieve this target at national level.

Development of Ireland’s Long-Term Strategy

The Climate Action Plan 2019 puts in place a decarbonisation pathway to 2030 which would be consistent with the adoption of a net zero target in Ireland by 2050. Action 1 under the Plan has also committed to evaluating in detail the changes required to adopt a more ambitious commitment of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as part of finalising Ireland’s long-term climate strategy by the end of 2019 as per the advice of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action. 

Ireland’s Long-Term Strategy will seek to identify pathways towards decarbonisation to 2050 underpinned by analysis of transition options across all key sectors of the economy, including energy, buildings, transport, enterprise, waste, agriculture and land-use. 

It will examine the potential and implications of the deployment of innovative technologies and of facilitating alternative choices for consumers. It will also consider investment costs and socio-economic factors, including impacts on citizens and communities and the need to support a just transition.

The purpose of this public consultation is to inform the development of Ireland’s Long-Term Strategy. Views are invited from interested parties on the potential decarbonisation pathway options available to Ireland to mid-century. The questions below seek feedback on some of the key issues to be addressed in the long-term strategy as well as allowing the opportunity for comments on other areas that are considered to be important.

Responding to this consultation

Responses to this consultation paper must be received in full by the Department no later than close of business on 31 December 2019. It is not necessary to provide responses to all the questions.

Responses to this consultation are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007-2014. Confidential or commercially sensitive information should be clearly identified in your submission, however parties should also note that any or all responses to the consultation are subject in their entirety to the provisions of the FOI Acts and are likely to be published on the website of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

If you are unable to use the online questionnaire, please contact us at Climateunit@DCCAE.gov.ie  or 

Climate Mitigation and Awareness Division – LTS

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

29-31 Adelaide Road

Dublin 2

Ireland

D02 X285

By responding to the consultation, respondents consent to their name being published online with the submission. The Department will redact personal addresses and personal email addresses prior to publication. We would draw your attention to the Department’s privacy statement:

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment requires respondents to provide certain personal data in order to provide services and carry out the functions of the Department. Your personal data may be exchanged with other Government Departments and Agencies in certain circumstances, where lawful. Full details can be found in our Data Privacy Notice which is available on our website or in hard copy on request.

THE ACTUAL SURVEY

*Name:

Organisation:

*Email Address:

Pathway to 2050

  1. What are the appropriate 2050 targets for Ireland to set in the context of supporting a net Zero target at EU level?

My sample response – Ireland should at the very least carbon neutral by 2050. We should have cut out methane so that the 10-20 years cycle can stop with a view to reintroducing it when levels or warming have dropped to a safe level for it’s reintroduction. 

2. What advanced technologies, across all sectors, could support a move to net-zero or negative emissions by 2050?

My sample response – Revert to personal computers for personal data storage to alleviate the need for an increase in data centres. Efficient public transport including rural trains and buses run on electricity, hydrogen, hydrogen cell. No fossil fuelled vehicles whatsoever. Micro electricity generation to supply individually, locally, regionally, nationally and then internationally. Regenerative farming technology, permaculture to feed locally with international trade of the surplus food.  Non fossil fuelled heating systems. Passive house technology. Upgrade the entire housing stock especially the homes that local authorities will have to eradicate homelessness. 

3. What financial instruments could complement a decarbonised economy by 2050? 

My sample response – Reform of the CAP programme to support the regenerative farming technologies. Support land owners to grow food sustainably. Financial supports to homeowners, farmers, community facilities and small business to participate in the energy transition. Greatly subsidise the move away from fossil fuelled vehicles. Reintroduce hire purchase through energy bills. Elected representatives use public transport. 

Introduce basic income with a complimentary tax system that reduces salaries to a living wage plus bonuses. Borrow whatever is needed up front instead of paying massive fines for inaction. 

Electricity

Greenhouse gas emissions within this sector have progressively decreased over recent years due to the transition away from fossil fuels. However, this transition must continue in order to reduce Ireland’s total emissions and the electricity system may need to be fully decarbonised by 2050. Ireland’s transition to a decarbonised electricity system requires large-scale infrastructural, technological and societal changes as we progressively remove fossil fuel-based electricity generation from the system and towards renewable energy, biomass and alternative sources of energy, all at time when demand is increasing.  In making these significant changes, we need to make sure that our energy supply is sustainable and secure. While the 2019 Climate Action Plan establises our pathway to 2030, our long-term strategy will present a perspective beyond 2030. Thus, the questions that follow should be considered in the context of decarbonisation by 2050.

4. What is the generation capacity required to move to zero or negative emissions?

5. What resources will help managing intermittency on the grid (e.g. long duration storage, zero-emissions fuel)?

6. What should our fuel mix look like by 2050?

Enterprise 

Emissions within this sector in Ireland are highly correlated with economic activity and as a result of a growing economy currently enterprise accounts for 13.5% of total GHGs. This figure includes manufacturing (7.8%) and industrial (3.8%) processes and F-Gases (1.8%). While the Climate Action Plan provides a clear pathway to 2030 for this sector, emissions from the enterprise sector will need to continue to reduce substantially after 2030. This will pose particular challenges for large emitting industries in Ireland such as cement and alumina production. While the 2019 Climate Action Plan establises our pathway to 2030, our long-term strategy will present a perspective beyond 2030. Thus, the questions that follow should be considered in the context of decarbonisation by 2050.

7. How can emissions from large industry, e.g. cement and alumina, be reduced, including options beyond fuel substitution?

8. Should enterprise lead the way in the transformation in the GHG impact of power, transport, buildings, waste and the circular economy? If so, how?

Built Environment

The built environment accounted for 13.7% of Ireland’s greenhouse gases in 2018. The big challenge for Ireland in this sector is retrofitting our building stock and moving away from carbon intensive heating sources. While the Climate Action Plan leads us down a path of substantial activity in this sector, by 2050, Ireland’s building stock will need to be almost completely decarbonised.

9. How can Ireland retrofit almost all buildings by 2050, including options for heating fuels and what buildings will be most challenging to decarbonise?

10. What is the future of the national gas grid in a net-zero emissions pathway?

11. How do we ensure that building and infrastructure development supports compact urban development, which is regionally balanced and sustainably designed to reduce GHG and enhance sustainable quality of life?

Transport

Transport was responsible for 20.2% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.  The emissions from this sector are continuing to increase year on year, due to a growing population and increased demand. This intensifies the decarbonisation challenge for the sector. Decarbonisation Pathways to 2050 will need to consider innovative technologies and fuels, increased use of market-based instruments, smart planning and modal shift to accelerate our decarbonisation efforts. While the 2019 Climate Action Plan establises our pathway to 2030, our long-term strategy will present a perspective beyond 2030. Thus, the questions that follow should be considered in the context of decarbonisation by 2050.

12. Do you think modal shift will play a key role in decarbonisation by 2050? If so, what is needed to drive substantial modal shift?

13. What should transport in our cities and rural areas look like by 2050?

14. What are the most cost-effective solutions for heavy duty and long-distance vehicles?

15. How can Ireland, as a small island economy, reduce emissions from aviation and navigation, including demand reduction and stimulating supply of sustainable fuels?

Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use

Agriculture generates 34% of Ireland’s total greenhouse gas emissions. A key challenge for this sector will be restructuring and adapting to remain competitive and prosperous in a world where carbon-intensive production is coming under increasing pressure from the imperatives of climate action and consumer expectations. In the context of a long term strategy out to 2050, decarbonisation pathways for Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use will need to show how this sector could contribute, not only to reducing carbon emissions, but to increasing carbon-removals and deepening reductions in other non-CO2 GHGs. While the 2019 Climate Action Plan establises our pathway to 2030, our long-term strategy will present a perspective beyond 2030. Thus, the questions that follow should be considered in the context of decarbonisation by 2050.

16. How do we secure viable family farms across our regions in an environment profoundly changed by the focus of climate change?

17. How can the methods of evaluating agriculture and land use give more credit for the relative carbon efficiency of food production in different countries, and the potential large contribution from land use management and afforestation?

18. What type of nature-based solutions, including land use, land use change and management, could support emissions reduction and what is the associated emissions reduction potential of such solutions?

19. What is the emissions reduction potential from GHG-efficient food production, including future production scenarios?

20. Where can Ireland show global leadership in GHG-efficiency, e.g. developing ‘next horizon’ technologies?

Waste and the Circular Economy

In 2018 waste was responsible for 1.5% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. While the GHG inventory in 2018 suggests 1.5%, the way we use materials is associated with 60% of GHG emissions, thus reducing material use, re-using or recycling must have a much greater role in climate change than suggested by the 1.5% figure. The biggest challenge within this area is reducing waste to landfill and targeting food waste. Developing opportunities to move away from our current linear production and consumption model will help to address these challenges. The Climate Action Plan addresses the need to incorporate a circular economy and bio-economy into Irish society. This will provide an essential contribution to our transition to 2050 in terms of developing a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy. While the 2019 Climate Action Plan establises our pathway to 2030, our long-term strategy will present a perspective beyond 2030. Thus, the questions that follow should be considered in the context of decarbonisation by 2050.

21. What circular and bio-economy initiatives could support emissions reduction out to 2050?

22. How should Ireland target reduction in food waste?

23. How important will the development of the bioeconomy, biomass, biofuels, biomethane become in displacing fossil fuels and transforming farm opportunities and land use?

Just Transition

It is essential that any burden that may arise from the impacts of climate change and policies to mitigate these impacts do not disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our society.  The Climate Action Plan proposes a number of policies in order to address this challenge but this must also be considered in the context of the deep decarbonisation required by 2050.

24. What are the most important issues for the Government to consider in developing a long term strategy to 2050 in order to ensure a just transition?

25. What should the primary focus of adaptation policy be for 2050?

My personal favourite – 

26. Are there any other comments or observations that you wish to make?

Theresa O’Donohoe

December 3rd 2019

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