Over €1 in every €5 spent in the National Development Plan will go towards tackling climate change, the Tánaiste has said.
As Fine Gael kicks off the party’s Green Week – an environmental awareness campaign – Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the funding is another step towards Ireland becoming a leader in climate action.
The Tánaiste said: “We have recently launched a 10-year National Development Plan, which will commit €21.8bn on actions designed specifically to protect our environment and move us towards a greener society.
“This is the largest single package within the Plan, and represents a step change in public investment in climate action which will see €1 in every €5 being spent go toward tackling climate change.
“We acknowledge that we have a longer journey to travel than many countries, but investment under Project Ireland 2040 will help bring us towards our national transition objective.
“The newly established Special Joint Committee on Climate Action, chaired by Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, will also be reporting within 5 months and ensuring the State’s response to climate change is as comprehensive and as ambitious as possible.
“From September, Ireland will be the first country in Europe to introduce a ban on smoky coal.
“The Government is also legislating to ban microbeads to protect our marine environments and the Bill should be published soon after the Dáil returns.
“From next year, all new buses bought for Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus will be low emission or no emission vehicles and we will spend €4 billion on energy efficiency upgrades over the next ten years.
“Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten’s Department will soon receive applications for a dedicated €500 million fund for projects that will decrease Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions and increase our use of sustainable energy.
“However the challenge presented by climate change requires more than investment. It requires significant behavioural change and some tough decisions or trade-offs by government, by business, by communities and by individuals.
“It requires citizen and community engagement – from planning for renewable energy projects through to individual purchasing decisions.
“Our plans over the coming years are ambitious, but we need everyone to get behind these initiatives, to make small changes in their lives so that Ireland can remain green for generations to come.
“This week, we will be raising awareness around the supports available to you to help you be greener, reduce your carbon footprint and save you money in the process.
“Log on to our website www.finegael.ie for helpful hints and tips, and stay tuned on our social media accounts for more.”