Public Policy Bulletin, 21 June 2019

Jun 20, 2019

Read about the public policy issues making headlines this week which include an update on the race to be UK Prime Minister and a look in more detail at the Irish government’s plans to achieve its climate-change targets.

Irish government unveils its latest climate action plan

200 actions are included in plans to achieve climate-change targets in a Climate Action Plan published by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment this week.  Ireland is behind in the EU’s climate action targets of reducing carbon emissions by 2020 and faces fines of several hundreds of millions of euros per year until targets are achieved. Some of the measures proposed to reduce carbon emissions in Ireland include:

  • Carbon tax will rise to €80 per tonne (from €20) by 2030
  • 70 percent of all electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030 (it’s currently 30 percent)
  • Regulations to curb the use of single-use plastics by end of 2021 and eliminate non-recyclable plastic
  • 500,000 homes will be retrofitted
  • Installing oil boilers will be prohibited by 2022 and the installation of gas boilers will be prohibited by 2025 on all new homes. A review on how to replace all oil and gas boilers in existing buildings will be completed this year. No new regulation will come into force before 2026.
  • All buildings undergoing significant renovation must bring the rest of the building up to a minimum BER B2 rating
  • Creating new, sustainable opportunities for family farms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture
  • The cycling path network and park and ride facilities will be expanded
  • A study looking at possible congestion charges will be undertaken by December 2019
  • In terms of transport, equalising duties on petrol and diesel, changing vehicle registration and motor tax will be considered in Budget 2020
  • A car scrappage scheme may be introduced in 2020 to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.

More broadly, carbon budgets and targets in addition to the normal financial budgets will be established on a five year system.  Ministers of each government Department will be responsible for making targets and there will be penalties for failure to do so.

The race to be PM: Down to two 

Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are the last two candidates remaining in the race to become Conservative Leader and ultimately Prime Minister. Following a series of votes this week, Boris Johnson received the most votes in the final round of voting. Brexit Minister Dominic Raab, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Michael Gove were eliminated during a series of votes this week. 

A postal ballot among the Conservative Party membership will then take place to pick a leader and a new Prime Minister should be chosen by the end of July.

EU summit discusses climate action and cybersecurity

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels today and yesterday to adopt the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024. The EU’s strategy focuses on four main priorities:

  • protecting citizens and freedoms
  • developing a strong and vibrant economic base
  • building a climate-neutral Europe
  • promoting European interests and values on the global stage.

Talks will also focus on the long-term EU budget, cyber attacks and external relations.

Read all our updates in our Public Policy webcentre.