Positive indications on climate action show that change is happening across many sectors.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, is today hosting the fifth National Climate Stakeholder Forum (NCSF) in the Convention Centre Dublin, setting out some of the positive indications that things are beginning to shift in a positive direction across a range of climate actions.

The NCSF is a central pillar of the National Dialogue on Climate Action (NDCA), Ireland's national programme to engage, enable and empower stakeholders and citizens across society to take climate action.

The NCSF is the vehicle through which the Government’s six climate action taskforces can share the progress made in their areas with a wide range of stakeholders across Government Departments, agencies, and environmental non-government organisations. Notable achievements across the following areas will be shared:

  • Emissions: Emissions were down nearly 2% in 2022. Our first carbon budget target is to see a 4.8% reduction in emissions annually and it looks like we could get close to that or above it in 2023, based on a number of indications.
  • Electricity: Electricity emissions are expected to drop by over 20%, and heating emissions by over 5%, in 2023. On average 46.1% of electricity generated in Ireland in 2023 was renewable, with that figure reaching 62.1% in December because of the windy conditions.
  • Renewables: Ireland generated 7.4% more renewable electricity in 2023 than in 2022. In addition, 1GW of solar was deployed, enough to power 400,000 homes — a massive 311% higher than that generated in 2022.
  • Transport: In 2023, 308 million passenger journeys were made on public transport, making it the busiest year ever — a 25% increase in passenger numbers over 2022. The biggest changes are being seen outside our cities. Bus Eireann carried over 145 million passengers last year — a 20% increase on 2022. Local link bus services carried over 3 million passengers in 2023 — a massive 78% increase on 2022 numbers and a seven-fold increase since 2018.
  • Heat and efficiency: The target of 37,000 retrofits for 2023 was smashed, with more than 47,000 homes benefiting from Government grants to make their homes warmer and cheaper.
  • Land use: A third of farmers (46,000 out of approximately 135,000 farms) are participating in the ACRES scheme, fertiliser use is down 27% and organic farming has more than doubled since 2021.

The NSCF will also hear about the Government’s planned new Climate Engagement and Communications campaign, which is expected to start by the end of March. The campaign will be a bottom-up, people and community-focused campaign that aims to foster a national conversation and place-based action on climate.

The forum is taking place on the day that the EPA has launched its second Climate Change in the Irish Mind Survey. It shows that a large majority of Irish people (79%) say climate change should be either a “very high” or “high” priority for Government. In addition, a majority of people in Ireland believe climate action will provide opportunities to create new jobs (56%) and improved quality of life (74%).

Commenting on the event, Minister Ryan said:

“These stakeholder forums are a really valuable way to outline the progress that is being made in changing the systems that people need to work, go to school, heat their homes or travel, for example. It is also a great place to hear and learn from a wide variety of people and organisations about the challenges they face as we transition to a new, greener future."
“When it comes to climate, I believe we are in quite a positive position here in Ireland. The EPA Climate Change in the Irish Mind surveys tell us that climate is something that the vast majority of people in Ireland, young or old, rural or urban, understand and acknowledge."
  “These forums and the upcoming Engagement and Communications Campaign can build on this, helping to bring more people into the climate conversation, increasing awareness and fostering greater understanding about what climate action can look like for different needs and different communities. The green transition will not work if it’s divisive. It will only work if it’s fair and if it provides a better quality of life, and importantly, if people can see that their views and ideas are respected and valued in this process.”

The outputs of the National Climate Stakeholder Forum will also further inform the ‘Year of Engagement on Climate Action’, which will see engagement events being carried out across Ireland throughout the year.