The public sector has a very important part to play in the collective effort to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. The public sector is a significant element of the overall economy. It is Ireland’s biggest landowner and property owner; it has the largest fleet of transport vehicles in the country and has considerable purchasing power. It encompasses government departments, state and semi-state agencies, local authorities, the HSE and the Gardaí.
Through its operational activities, it contributes a considerable amount of emissions to Ireland ’s collective greenhouse gases. Through the White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland, the government has set a key target of 33% energy savings across the public sector by 2020. Every public service organisation is required to adopt emissions targets and to benchmark and report on their progress in annual reports.
High performance by the public sector in response to climate change is vital for 3 key reasons:
- To demonstrate the government’s commitment to climate change thereby giving credence to government climate change policy and goals, and increasing public confidence and willingness to take individual action;
- To influence behaviour change in the general public through leadership and demonstration of best practice by adopting high energy efficiency practices and standards;
- To support green technologies, fuels, goods and services through procurement in order to stimulate and give confidence to low carbon markets.
This section outlines the impact of the public sector on climate change and also explores the potential impacts of climate change on the public sector. The ‘Actions’ section outlines what public sector organisations can do to reduce the carbon footprint of their organisation and to track progress towards reduced carbon emissions.
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