A High Court case being taken a group of environmental activists, campaigning under the umbrella of Climate Case Ireland, is seeking the quash of the Government‘s National Mitigation Plan.
The case is expected to last for four days.
Climate Case Ireland is seeking to hold the Government accountable for its role in knowingly contributing to dangerous levels of climate change.
It is arguing that the National Mitigation Plan, published by the Government in July 2017, does not go far enough to protect citizens’ constitutional rights.
The group will argue that under the 2017 National Mitigation Plan Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions will rise rather than fall.
Climate Case Ireland is arguing that by failing to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions as required, the plan is a violation of Ireland’s constitution and human rights obligations.
They will also argue that the plan falls far short of the steps required by the Paris Climate Change agreement.
The group is asking the court to quash the existing mitigation plan and to require the Government to produce what they are describing as "a more fit for purpose plan" with a greater level of ambition to reduce emissions to help tackle climate change.
A spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment said that the National Mitigation Plan recognises that it is only a framework, and that it would be necessary to put in place a detailed roadmap to decarbonisation.
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The spokesperson said that the Government is now putting in place that detailed roadmap.
The Government has launched the National Development Plan which requires that one euro out of every five invested through Project Ireland 2040 over the next 20 years will be spent on climate mitigation and capital investments which reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Minister for Communications Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton is also in the process of developing an all-of-government Climate Action Plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change.
However, Climate Case Ireland said that the Government‘s plan is flawed, unconstitutional and in breach of human rights law.
They said that it fails to specify any measures to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions as it is required to do.
At the time of its launch in July 2017 the Government said that the National Mitigation Plan includes 106 distinct actions to be implemented across Government in order to advance the National Transition Agenda.
These included a commitment to maintaining and expanding existing energy-efficiency grants for homes, as well as the expansion of local authority energy upgrade programs for social housing and funding for a renewable heat incentive scheme.
The plan also proposed expanded funding for public transport and cycling infrastructure, and the maintenance of the existing level of grant aid and tax relief for electric vehicles.
It also included a commitment that all new cars and vans sold in Ireland from 2030 onwards would be zero emission or zero emission enabled.
The National Mitigation Plan also includes a commitment to further refining the existing emissions based taxation structure for the transport sector.
In addition it included a commitment to carbon taxation as a key driver of behavioural change with a message that increases in the tax would be phased in over time.
There was also a commitment to maintaining ongoing levels of grant aid for afforestation and a commitment to further refine the incentive structure for on-farm updates of measures to increase the carbon efficiency of agriculture.
However, the Government described the National Mitigation Plan as a living document and it was its intention to constantly update and improve the plan over time.
The High Court case being taken by Climate Case Ireland is being heard by Mr Justice McGrath.