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News & Events

Climate Action Plan 2021 offers businesses clarity and opportunity

Following on from the launch of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 yesterday, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD today (Friday, 5 November) said:

“I know many businesses have just come through a period of huge uncertainty and challenge, with the pandemic forcing many to shut their doors and the unpredictability of Brexit, which I know caused significant disruption.

“The Government yesterday published the Climate Action Plan 2021. It’s a very ambitious plan and I think it is necessarily so given the scale and urgency of the threat of climate change. I know many business owners will be concerned about what this means for their business and how they are going to adapt, to what might sometimes seem to be an overwhelming challenge, especially given the past few years.

“I want to reassure business owners today that the Government will help you make this transition. Whether you’re a SME or large business, we will meet you where you’re at and help you make the changes that are necessary.

“We’ll be launching a new website shortly, called the Climate Toolkit 4 Business. Businesses will be able to input some simple information and get an estimate of their carbon footprint and a personalised plan to reduce it. The plan will point users to grant funding available through the Enterprise Ireland Climate Enterprise Action Fund for example, and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to help you make changes to your buildings and the way you use energy.

“Most of the emissions from the enterprise sector come from a small number of large energy users and my officials have already been working directly with them to help them make the shift away from fossil fuels and to explore new materials which are less damaging to the environment. 

“I also believe that there is a huge amount of opportunities in the transition. We will be creating entire new industries in retrofitting and offshore wind for example and creating new employment opportunities in the circular economy, clean mobility, green and blue infrastructure, sustainable agriculture and the bioeconomy. 

“The changes that need to be made will make Irish businesses more resilient and sustainable into the long-term. Many are good for the bottom line. Those that aren’t, will require help from the Government and we recognise that and will step in.”

The Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 published yesterday reflects the Government’s ambition to meet a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

The Enterprise sector has an important role to play in meeting these targets. In 2018, the sector emitted 7.9 MtCO2eq., or 12.7% of Ireland’s total emissions. The enterprise sector has been tasked with reducing emissions to 5 MtCO2eq. by the end of the decade.

The Climate Action Plan 2021 outlines four core measures to deliver these reductions:

  • Carbon neutral heating in industry;
  • Electrification of high temperature heating in the alumina sector; 
  • A decrease in embodied carbon in construction materials; 
  • Phase out high Global Warming Potential F-gases.