Engineers Ireland, the professional membership body for engineers, has welcomed the publication of the Climate Action Plan 2021.

The Plan lists the actions required to deliver on Ireland’s climate targets, including a commitment to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030. 

The Climate Action Plan follows the Climate Act 2021, which commits Ireland to a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. These targets are a key pillar of the Programme for Government.

“Climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse are the most serious issues of our time,” said Professor Orla Feely, President of Engineers Ireland. “Engineers Ireland strongly advocates for the principles and practices of sustainable development and welcomes the ambition of the Climate Action Plan. The Plan, which will provide the pathway for Ireland to meet its international and EU climate commitments, contains ambitious and positive opportunities for change which will improve the quality of life of our citizens through increased investments and initiatives.”

Commenting on the role of engineers in the delivery of the Plan, Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, said: “The publication of the Climate Action Plan will require the State to pursue and achieve, by no later than the end of 2050, the transition to a climate resilient, biodiversity rich, environmentally sustainable and climate neutral economy. Ireland’s engineers will have a critical role to play in this transition and will use their ingenuity and problem-solving abilities to tackle the greatest challenge faced by modern humanity.”

Key targets within the Plan welcomed by the professional membership body include:

  • The enabling of 500,000 daily sustainable travel journeys by 2030 through major public transport projects such as BusConnects and Connecting Ireland; the expansion of rail services and cycling and walking infrastructure.
  • The increase in the proportion of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030, including an increased target of up to 5 Gigawatts of offshore wind.
  • Delivery of three new transmission grid connections or interconnectors to Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the EU.
  • Scaled up delivery of retrofitting, including the opening of three more training centres for retrofit upskilling and a programme to decarbonise the heating and cooling sectors by 2050.
  • An increase the number of EVs to circa 1 million by 2030.
  • Planned publication of a whole-of-Government Circular Economy Strategy, the enactment of the Circular Economy Bill 2021, and the development of a Bioeconomy Action Plan.
  • Implementing the National Planning Framework to promote compact and sustainable housing, growth and development.
  • Promotion of the digital transformation, sustainable remote working practices and the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan.
  • A Climate Action Delivery Board to be overseen by the Department of the Taoiseach to monitor delivery.

Professor Feely also welcomed the Government’s commitment to annually update the Climate Action Plan and its roadmap of actions, to reflect annual developments, advancements in technology and research in relation to climate action and to ensure the required emissions reductions. “This commitment by Government will help to safeguard our future and that of future generations,” Professor Feely added.