Governance - that’s the key policy innovation in the government’s new Climate Action Plan.

While new targets for electric vehicles may grab the headlines, the boring but critical part of this story is the proposed structural change to try and ensure that climate policy is implemented. 

Previous plans failed miserably because while Cabinets signed-up to emissions reduction targets, individual ministers would subsequently fight tooth-and-nail against measures impinging on their department. 

As former Fianna Fáil Environment Minister Noel Dempsey explained to me back in 2007 when I was writing a book on climate policy: "... everyone politically had a reason not to sign-up to the [climate] strategy." 

The result is that Ireland is going to miss its EU 2020 targets by a country mile. And that failure will cost us dearly. 

So how does this government propose to learn from past mistakes? 

Good governance appears to be the answer. 

The starting point is a government commitment that Ireland will meet its EU 2030 emissions reductions targets. 

This will be achieved by giving government departments a clear individual target to be met through a mechanism called 'carbon budgets.' 

A carbon budget will have a 5-year cycle, starting from the year 2020, and effectively amount to an emissions allocation.

If any department fails to reduce its emissions by the determined amount, it's going to have to pay for the shortfall from its own budget.

Oversight on how departments are progressing will be three-fold. 

First there will be a Carbon Action Council which will be overseen by the Secretaries General of the Department of the Taoiseach and Department of Climate Action. 

The involvement of the Taoiseach in this process is important - an attempt to ensure that things actually happen. Progress will be assessed on a quarterly and annual basis. 

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action is also to receive new powers so that, in the words of Committee chair Hildegarde Naughton, it can operate like the powerful Public Accounts Committee. 

This would mean Secretaries General of departments which don't meet their targets can look forward to be hauled in front of a cross-party group of politicians for a grilling.

It's also proposed that the independent advisory body, the Climate Change Advisory Council, will be super-charged to ensure it's views can no longer be considered and then ignored.

These are the main administrative changes, coupled with ongoing reviews, which the government hopes will place Ireland on a trajectory to finally achieve its EU emissions reductions targets.

In truth, it's hard not to be cynical when yet another government climate change report is published.

Many of the ideas on transport, agriculture, buildings, and energy have been knocking around for a long time. Previous targets on things like electric cars have not been met. 

But in 20 years reporting on the climate, this is the first time that I have seen a substantial effort to correct the clear structural weaknesses in governance. 

Whether it will work or not, only time will tell. 

Let's hope it is successful because failure to meet our EU 2030 targets will cost the State billions, rather than millions.

And that's not even beginning to consider the impact on our environment.