Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and Transport Eamon Ryan has said that the Climate Action Plan will be brought to the Cabinet this week and once approved will then be presented to the opposition, the Oireachtas and the public.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Ryan said that the Climate Action Plan had evolved from an original proposal by then minister Richard Bruton in 2019 which had been built on cross-party agreement and following on from the Citizens Assembly.
“Our process has been politically inclusive,” said Mr Ryan.
"Better systems will have to be created across many sectors," he added.
Agriculture will take longer, but the national herd would reduce naturally over time. The key metric would be to protect the family farm model, Mr Ryan explained. The system needs to change and farmers need to be encouraged to protect nature.
In October, the Climate Change Advisory Council released two five year carbon budget plans which are part of the long-term strategy to make Ireland carbon-neutral by 2050.
Farm groups have since come out strongly against the main targets of the carbon budget plan, claiming it will have a significant negative impact on their sector.
Mr Ryan acknowledged that the Climate Action Plan will include a deposit plan for plastic bottles, electric transport, a move into green careers to encourage 25,000 apprenticeships to carry out an extensive retrofitting plan.
Ireland would be producing its own electricity and would not need to import oil and gas, said Mr Ryan.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said that Ireland would be strengthening the contribution it makes to climate financing as part of an EU “global union” to reduce carbon emissions.
Mr Donohoe told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that claims by Sinn Féin that the Government would be “taking a big stick” to Irish farmers in the forthcoming Climate Action Plan was incorrect and that “this type of language” undermined the ability to make a case for a positive transition into a lower carbon future.
Mr Donohoe added that he did not believe the expansion of the national dairy herd over the past decade had been a mistake and that Irish farming had shown its ability to meet the dairy needs of the world in a very carbon efficient way.
However, it was now time to acknowledge that everyone needed to do better and that Irish agriculture had already made great strides in this regard, he said.