Carbon budgets to help halve emissions passed in Dáil without a vote

Emissions ceilings to be decided for economic sectors once budgets come into effect

The Government’s carbon budgets were passed in the Dáil on Wednesday night.

The carbon budgets, which are part of the Government’s climate action plan, didn’t require a vote as less than 10 TDs opposed the motion.

Carbon budgets are the State’s new mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and are intended to halve annual emissions by 2030.

A number of Independent TDs had sought to call a vote in opposition to the measure, including Mattie McGrath, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Michael Collins, Carol Nolan, Richard O'Donoghue, Michael Fitzmaurice and Verona Murphy.


Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications Ossian Smyth said the need for "swift, robust climate action is critical".

"Last year, at Cop26 in Glasgow, we witnessed the powerful testimonies of many international leaders from climate-vulnerable nations who painted a stark picture of the impact climate change is already having on their nations and communities," he said.

Mr Smyth said once the carbon budgets were adopted and come into effect, the Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan and his department would begin preparing the sectoral emissions ceilings.

“These ceilings will determine how each sector of the economy will contribute to the achievement of the carbon budgets,” he said.

“It is my intention that the sectoral emissions ceilings will be presented to Government for approval by the end of June.

“Preparation of the emissions ceilings will include extensive consultation with all Government ministers and they will be informed by new and existing analysis undertaken by members of the climate action modelling group. As well as this, additional external technical support will be drawn upon.”

Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú said his party supported carbon budgets but had “serious worries about delivery”.

Oisín Coghlan, chief executive of Friends of the Earth, said the vote on Wednesday night was “a vital milestone on the road to sustained climate action”.

"This was the first time the Oireachtas has adopted binding short-term climate pollution targets. And crucially it was done on an all-party basis," he said.

“The carbon budgets will be a key driver of action across all Government departments and a key lever for the Oireachtas to hold the Government to account.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times