According to several news reports over the past week, the Irish Government is expected to sign off on carbon budgets for each industry, including construction, before the Dáil summer recess, which is scheduled for mid-July.
These carbon credits, per industry, will be the legally binding limits set on total emissions allowable from each sector or industry. The particulars of these credits are much anticipated as they are recognised as key to achieving Ireland’s climate target to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 51 percent by 2030 and for the nation to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The carbon budgets were first introduced in 2020 and approved by the Dáil earlier this year to ensure each sector is actively working towards reducing its sectoral emissions, with the view to lowering Ireland’s overall emissions as the country. The idea is that each sector must stay under its allotted credits so that Ireland can hit net zero by 2050. The carbon budget for the period 2021 to 2025 aims to reduce emissions by 4.8 percent per year for five years, while the second budget from 2026 to 2030 will look to increase that annual reduction to 8.3 percent.
The Government’s Climate Action Plan from 2021 already set out different emissions reduction targets for sectors, however, over the past three months, industry representatives have been working with Government departments to fairly set these sectoral emissions ceilings. Environment Minister Eamon Ryan will reportedly put forward the proposed sectoral credits to the Government in the coming weeks, for sign off next month. The initial credit budgets will cover the period up to the end of 2025. It is understood that the total allowable emissions – across all industries combined – will be 295 million tonnes (Mt). How this total allowable figure is to be allotted across agriculture, electricity, transport, construction and the other industries will be critical for project planning.
Even before the announcements of these credits, the construction industry was starting to take positive action to tackle carbon emissions. There is an increased focus on carbon tracking with many construction technology, or contech, startups innovating in this space and funding for climate tech globally has increased significantly. In practice, ESG and sustainability are no longer buzzwords, they are vital to the strategic success and longevity for companies in the industry. You can read more about current construction technology trends and opportunities here: https://mckeon.ie/mckeon-group-construction-tech-trends-and-opportunities/
The global energy crisis has prioritised renewables and reinforced the need for Ireland, and other countries, to lessen our reliance on fossil fuels. While this has been on the political and environmental agenda for decades, recent actions across Eastern Europe have created a very real sense of urgency that was missing before. The construction industry has shown a readiness and a real willingness to step up to the challenge.
Some additional reading for the weekend:
- ESG: a game changer for sustainable building?
- The property industry has a huge carbon footprint. Here’s how to reduce it: Some buildings should be retrofitted, others torn down https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/06/16/the-property-industry-has-a-huge-carbon-footprint-heres-how-to-reduce-it