Engineers Ireland welcomes Joint Committee’s report on Climate Action

Engineers Ireland welcomes Joint Committee’s report on Climate Action

29 March 2019 at 14:39

Engineers Ireland has today (29 March) welcomed the Joint Committee on Climate Action’s ‘Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus for Action’ report containing 42 priority recommendations in the area of climate action.

The professional membership body welcomed recommendations across a number of areas including in the area of improved governance and also across energy, the built environment and in transport.

The organisation said the report’s findings and recommendations will make a key contribution to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton TD’s, forthcoming all-of-Government plan and the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), which Ireland must submit to the European Commission later this year.

The member-organisation also said that as a country, which is currently set to miss its 2020 emissions reduction targets as agreed with the EU, that it was critical the State now makes every effort to meet our EU 2030 emissions reduction targets.

Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland said that “engineers have a key role to play in Ireland’s transition to a sustainable, carbon-free society” and that engineers are to the forefront of the “development and deployment of renewable energy and other technologies.”

Welcoming the ‘Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus for Action’ report, Caroline Spillane added that if implemented, the recommendations contained in the Joint Committee’s report “should improve the quality of life of our citizens through increased investments made in public transport infrastructure and in warmer homes through increased retrofitting. She also said that the public engagement measures were very welcome as “any decisions made in our transition to a lower carbon society will have to be supported by the public.”   And added that, “As the transition of the country to one that is carbon free and practically self-sufficient will be heavily dependent on every citizen’s engagement.”

Ms Spillane also referenced Engineers Ireland’s State of Ireland report on infrastructure.  She said this expert-led independent report - as far back as 2016, when it focused particularly on energy infrastructure - had made recommendations around the investment in new technologies and infrastructure to support the transition from a high-carbon, fuel import economy to one that is carbon free.  She said it was positive to see some recommendations reflected within the Oireachtas Committee report.

Some of the recommendations welcomed by the membership organisation on the new ‘Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus for Action’ report include:

That new legislation be enacted by the Oireachtas in 2019, providing a new legal framework for tackling climate change. This should include the setting of legally binding GHG emissions targets for mitigation and renewable electricity for 2030 and 2050, reflecting the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consensus and the need for Ireland to make immediate progress in meeting our EU emissions reductions 2030 targets.

That a Climate Action Implementation Board be established in the Department of the Taoiseach which would be co-chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach and the Secretary General of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The primary aim of the Board will be the implementation of the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The need for citizen and community engagement and on the importance of public information.

The development of renewable energies and renewable electricity.

The requirement for a needs-assessment be undertaken to ascertain what is required to deliver the planned rate of energy retrofitting of 45,000 homes per annum, and to explore increasing this to 75,000 per annum.

The need for increased investment in public transport infrastructure to provide better choice for the public. Also the recommendation of the need to improve the infrastructure to support electric vehicles and to phase out petrol and diesel cars.

Editor’s Notes

Engineers Ireland endorses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Engineers have a key role to play in the transition to a sustainable, carbon-free society. For example, SDG 9 calls for the building of resilient infrastructure, promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation.  

 

Engineers Ireland is participating in an international group working on the SDGs which is FEANI. 

FEANI is a federation of professional engineers that unites national engineering associations from 33 European Higher Education Area (EHEA) countries.

Engineers Ireland will hold a Future Energy Forum for members, non-members and the public in Dundalk IT on Thursday 16 May under its One Society, Our Contribution series.  

The report ‘Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus for Action’ is accessible on the Oireachtas website and can be downloaded here:

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/joint_committee_on_climate_action/reports/2019/2019-03-28_report-climate-change-a-cross-party-consensus-for-action_en.pdf