State announces €500 million funding for climate action under Project Ireland 2040

Published by Niall Sargent on

May 30th, 2018

The Government has announced €500 million worth of funding for climate action over the next decade under Project Ireland 2040.

The Climate Action Fund was launched this morning by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, TD as part of new funding for rural development, urban regeneration, climate action and innovation.

The funds under the Project Ireland 2040 will be open to submissions from this summer, with funding being allocated from 2019 onwards.

Funds will be provided on a competitive basis and application will be open to state agencies, local government, business, educational institutions, chambers of commerce, and other stakeholders.

Project Ireland 2040 is a €116 billion plan designed to guide the country’s development plan over the next 22 years.

Climate Action Fund

The Fund will support initiatives to contribute to achieving Ireland’s climate and energy targets and will be financed with excess income from the petroleum products levy.

A call for applications and detailed evaluation criteria will be published by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in the coming weeks.

The launch of the fund is a “significant milestone” in how the Irish State tackles climate change, according to the Minister for Climate Action, Denis Naughten TD.

A recent European Commission analysis found that Ireland has made limited progress in decarbonising large parts of the economy and will not meet its 2020 climate goals with its existing mitigation efforts.

Mr Naughten acknowledged that we are “playing catch-up” on our climate change obligations and that it is a “moral necessity and a vital national interest” to hit our future targets.

“The €500million fund… can support projects ranging from wave energy off our west coast to electrifying our bus fleet, to heating our homes and businesses using farm and food waste,” he added.

Earlier this month, the High Court granted leave to a Cork-based environmental group to challenge the Irish Government’s adoption of Project Ireland 2040 on grounds of climate change concerns.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) argue that the environmental assessment in the plan is “inadequate” and might threaten “the future prosperity of [the] next generation”.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, TD commended FIE’s legal endeavours and said that his party was “deeply disappointed” with the country’s new developmental roadmap.

“Unfortunately the Framework and the National Development Plan when they were published jointly as Project 2040 remain business as usual plans, incredible plans to increase emissions overall when we know radical reductions are what is required,” Mr Ryan said.

Other funding schemes

In addition to the climate scheme, funding will be made available for urban regeneration and development in Ireland’s five cities and large urban centres (€2 billion) and innovative technologies and applications on a commercial basis (€500 million).

A further €1 billion will be made available for rural development to support job creation in rural areas, address de-population of rural communities and support improvements in towns, villages and their hinterlands.

Government figures indicate that three-quarters of new growth will be outside Dublin in the coming decades, with 50 per cent of projected population growth planned for towns, villages and rural areas.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London