Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, launches new report ‘Building a competitive low carbon economy – An Irish business roadmap to 2050’
In the report, Ibec outlines a vision for 2050 that would see Ireland have a smart, low carbon economy known for its sustainable enterprise base, industrial competitiveness, energy resilience, skilled workforce and high quality of life.
Commenting, Danny McCoy, Ibec CEO, said: “Climate change is the single greatest challenge faced by humankind today. As part of a wider global response, Ireland needs to play its part by taking decisive action to decouple emissions from population and economic growth, and to transition to a competitive low carbon economy.
For Irish business, such a transition presents a no-regrets opportunity to build a better Ireland. If we focus on smart, cost-effective and evidence-based policies, we can use the transition to enhance our energy security, boost competitiveness, improve quality of life and create thousands of sustainable jobs across the country.
Importance of a low carbon society
The report was developed in consultation with Ibec member companies and with guidance from the SFI MaREI Centre’s Energy Policy and Modelling team at University College Cork. Following publication of the report, Ibec has commenced an engagement with Government, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders to help build a new low carbon economy.
Six policy areas
Ibec believes the decarbonisation involved in moving the current economy to a competitive low carbon one should happen in phases to ensure a smooth and fair transition. The report makes recommendations across six main policy areas:
- Introduce short-term carbon budgets: Introduce continually reducing carbon budgets for sectors outside the Emissions Trading System (ETS). This would bring greater visibility to Ireland’s emissions targets and obligations.
- Redesign the carbon tax: Introduce an upward carbon tax with gradual, predictable increases to provide investment certainty. The tax should be set at €30 per tonne in 2020 and increase by €5 per tonne annually until it reaches €80 in 2030. The revenue should be ring-fenced to support low carbon investment.
- Establish a dialogue on climate action: Set up a national social dialogue and a Just Transition taskforce to help build a national consensus that brings together industry, trade unions, environmental groups, local representatives, and political parties.
- Promote climate smart planning: Amend the planning system to facilitate a low carbon transition by better supporting the roll-out of strategic energy infrastructure, public transport, afforestation and carbon sequestration.
- Review security of supply: Government should undertake a comprehensive study into secure energy supply out to 2035. Decarbonisation should happen in phases to ensure a smooth transition.
- Support private investment: Government should offer supports and incentives to help businesses and households to overcome high upfront capital costs. A transition will require in excess of €40 billion of new capital investment by 2030, most of it through private investment.