Electric cars and more cycle lanes in Government plan to 'save our planet'

Electric cars and more cycle lanes in Government plan to 'save our planet'
A Climate Change demonstration on South Mall in Cork City in March. Picture: Howard Crowdy

THE Government’s “bold and ambitious” climate action plan will nudge people and businesses to change behaviour, the Taoiseach has said.

Leo Varadkar said the plan represented a call to action in the fight to save the planet.

The Government published its plan to tackle climate breakdown yesterday, outlining how Ireland will reduce its overall carbon emissions by 20% by 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2050.

The plan includes more than 180 measures, including incentives to encourage people to switch from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric vehicles.

A nationwide charging system for electric vehicles is to be set up and legislation would ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

A retrofit programme for homes is also set to be implemented.

Mr Varadkar said: “This plan represents the sum of our hopes for the future. Our call to action in the fight to save our planet.”

The actions in the plan include:

:: Eliminate non-recyclable plastic and impose higher fees on the production of materials which are difficult to recycle;

:: Establish a microgeneration scheme, allowing homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell what they do not use back to the national grid;

:: Move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030; currently only 30% of Ireland’s electricity comes from renewable sources;

:: Bring 950,000 electric vehicles on to Irish roads, deliver a nationwide charging network, an electric vehicle scrappage scheme, and legislation to ban the sale of petrol/diesel cars from 2030;

:: Expand network of cycling paths and park and ride facilities;

:: Deliver a plan to retrofit 500,000 homes, with large groups of houses being retrofitted by the same contractor to reduce costs, smart finance, and easy pay-back.

However, Labour’s Cork East TD Sean Sherlock criticised aspects of the proposal, saying Fine Gael had abandoned the international goal of halting global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

He said: “The Oireachtas committee on climate action endorsed the findings of the world’s leading international experts who said that all countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. For Ireland, that means reducing our emissions from 60 million tonnes at present to 33 million tonnes by 2030.

“If the overall target is anything less than reducing our carbon dioxide emissions to 33 million tonnes by 2030, the Government’s plan has fallen at the first hurdle.”

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