In 2017, emissions from the enterprise sector (of which manufacturing is one of the largest) accounted for 13.4% of Ireland's greenhouse gases. The Climate Action Plan acknowledges the historical connection between buoyant economic activity and high industry emissions and sets targets of:
- Reducing Ireland's Emissions Trading System (ETS) Industry emissions by 10-15%, relative to 2030 projections; and
- Expanding the EXEED programme to influence and deliver new best practices in energy efficient design management in at least 80 companies in 2019.
The Climate Action Plan recognises that different businesses will face distinct challenges when it comes to decarbonising. This perhaps accounts for the level of generality which exists for the measures which are proposed to deliver change.
The initiatives in the Climate Action Plan include:
- Incentivising sectors both inside and outside of the ETS to decarbonise through effective carbon pricing
- Meeting the EU target of 43% emissions reduction by 2030 for the ETS sector, relative to 2005 levels
- Supporting and promoting decarbonisation efforts of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and its various networks
- Expanding the business opportunities in renewables, offshore and new technology
- Supporting the development of sectoral networks to drive this agenda through a targeted call under the Climate Action Fund
The Climate Action Plan recognises that the policy measures to date, including those presented in Project Ireland 2040, will not achieve the level of decarbonisation required in the industry sector, with emissions set to rise by 12% unless action is taken. The agenda of transition and change which is listed in the Climate Action Plan (e.g. improving energy efficiency replacing fossil fuels, increasing innovation and developing new skills) is already well known. What remains to be seen is how these measures will translate into practice.