23 July 2020
The government secured “at least” €500 million to the Climate Action Fund last night, which will be pipelined to climate action efforts over the next seven years.
The passing of the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) (Amendment) and Provision of Central Treasury Services Bill 2020 yesterday repurposed the agency’s levy of 2 cent per litre which exists mainly for oil products.
The Bill allows for surplus NORA levy funds to be paid directly into the Climate Action Fund. The surplus can only come about once the agency’s financial needs have been met.
The legislation sets out a “statement of intent for the next five to ten years”, according to Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan.
The Fund allows for every region of the State to, “come forward with ambitious climate action projects, harnessing our people’s desire for real and practical climate solutions,” Minister Ryan said.
“In setting out ambition in our policy and in our funding, we force ourselves to be ambitious,” he added.
“Sustainable economic recovery”
In addition to its climate benefits, Minister Ryan stressed, the Climate Action Fund will have a role to play in a post-covid economic recovery.
Referencing the need to support a sustainable economic recovery being one “that is also sustainable from a climate change and environmental perspective”, the Minister said the funding to industries and communities is, “part of Ireland’s own Green New Deal” and “provides us with real opportunities to innovate”.
“The Fund will target greener economic activities and will introduce or expand new green technologies and processes in Ireland. This will be good for Irish competitiveness, good for Irish jobs and good for Ireland’s efforts to tackle climate change,” Minister said.
The first call for applications to the Fund has already committed up to €77 million in support divided between seven projects, which the Department of Climate Action anticipates will result in total investments of, “some €300 million in climate action across the country”.
The Department intends to put out a second call for applications later this year and once again in 2021 with €150 million available to successful applications.
Eligible projects include those that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the production or use of renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, pursue innovative climate solutions and support areas of the economy that will be impacted by the transition to a low carbon economy.
The Fund is one of the tools outlined in the Programme for Government that will be implemented to transition the state to a low-carbon economy and other key climate announcements are anticipated within the first 100 days of the new government.