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Engineers to play central role in Climate Action Plan

Engineers Ireland, the professional membership body for engineers in Ireland, has welcomed the ‘Climate Action Plan 2019 To Tackle Climate Breakdown’ which contains over 180 priority actions aiming to provide the public with a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future.

Published by Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment, the Climate Action Plan details how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for carbon emissions and key actions to achieve a net zero carbon emission score by 2050.

Welcoming the new Climate Action Plan, Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland: said: “Climate change is one of the greatest global challenges for this and future generations. Engineers Ireland endorses the UN Sustainable Development Goals to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change while ensuring that no one is left behind. Engineers have a key role to play in the transition to a sustainable, carbon-free society.”

Ms Spillane added: “The Climate Action Plan contains ambitious and positive opportunities for change which will improve the quality of life of our citizens through increased investments and initiatives, building a sustainable, resilient future for this and future generations. Our 25,000 engineer members are to the forefront of each of the sectors listed in the Plan: electricity, enterprise, built environment, transport, agriculture, and waste.”

The professional membership body welcomed recommendations across a number of key areas within the Climate Action Plan including:

  • An increased reliance on renewables from 30% to 70% adding 12GW of renewable energy capacity
  • Acceleration in the take up of EV cars and vans, with a target of an additional 950,000 EVs on the road by 2030.
  • Introduction of stricter requirements for new buildings and substantial refurbishments for existing housing stock
  • Conversion of public transport fleets to zero carbon alternatives
  • Introduction of a microgeneration scheme to allow homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell what they do not use back to the national grid
  • Delivery of an intensive programme of retrofitting to install 400,000 heat pumps in homes and businesses, replacing the existing carbon-intensive heating systems

Ms Spillane continued: “We are pleased to see that a number of the key action points listed in the Plan mirror those included in our State of Ireland reports, including adapting to the effects of climate change, managing our resources sustainably, accelerating the purchase of EVs, carrying out a deep retrofit of Ireland’s domestic dwellings and public buildings to increase energy efficiency, developing new renewable technologies and increasing recycling rates.”

The State of Ireland report, an expert-led independent report published by Engineers Ireland, has made recommendations around the investment in new technologies and infrastructure to support the transition from a high-carbon, fuel import economy to one that is carbon free. Next week, the organisation will launch its ninth annual report, the ‘State of Ireland 2019: A review of housing and infrastructure in Ireland’ at its headquarters in Ballsbridge on 26 June. The report will present information on the engineering components of housing, tackling issues such as land, infrastructure, building standards, sustainable planning, technology and energy use, and skills. The recommendations of which, if implemented, will improve the condition, capacity, and connectivity of Ireland’s housing stock.

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