THE Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney has said Ireland is at the start of a "sustainability revolution".
Speaking to members of Cork Chamber at a virtual meeting earlier this week Mr Coveney said the country has set ambitious but realistic targets to hit by 2030.
"When we signed up to a programme for Government with the Green Party and with Fianna Fáil of course and we set a target of a 50% reduction in emissions in Ireland by 2030, a lot of people were scratching their heads to say how is this doable?
"This level of ambition is real and it’s going to involve a lot of disruption and change but also a lot of opportunity, predominantly in energy and transport but also in terms of the way we live, how are homes are insulated, how we produce food, to become much more science-based in terms of the emissions intensity of our production systems," he said.
"This is a sustainability revolution if you like, that we are now at the start of what’s going to be more than a decade long but certainly we’ll see in the second half of the 2020s, I think, the planning that we’re now putting in place take effect," he continued.
Speaking in relation to Cork specifically Mr Coveney said improved public transport networks and more homes developed in the city centre will be integral to reducing the number of cars on the road.
"You can’t really do that in Cork, you certainly can’t do it easily."
Mr Coveney also spoke about the National Development Plan, which is currently under review.
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The plan is open to public consultation until February 19.
Mr Coveney said the current National Development Plan “very much focuses on trying to create alternative development hubs outside of Dublin and a major focus on cities outside of Dublin – Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway".
He spoke of Cork's potential to become a "serious counterbalance" to Dublin.
"If you’re talking about a serious counterbalance to the capital and the magnetism of a capital city in terms of pulling in investment and people and jobs and wealth creation, Cork is the place to do it in terms of scale."