The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
has announced that he has received Government approval in
principle to establish an Irish Government Offsetting Scheme
to offset the emissions associated with official air travel
by Ministers and Civil Servants.
“The proposed approach to the offsetting scheme will seek
to be optimal in terms of administrative efficiency and accountability
and will have the added advantage of increasing awareness
of the global warming implications of air travel among official
travellers and their Departments and Offices” - the Minister
A unique aspect of the approach is that emissions from the
Government’s passenger aircraft will also be required to be
The Minister - in noting that emissions offsetting does not,
in itself, prevent emissions of greenhouse gases - added that
- “the scheme provides a framework to understand the sources
and possible solutions to climate change by raising awareness,
allowing for capacity building and by providing direct or
indirect support for sustainable projects”.
“The development of this approach recognises that there are
some emissions that are unavoidable in the course of ongoing
business activity and enables the Government to demonstrate
leadership in offsetting official and business air travel”
- the Minister added.
The scheme will require -
- each official flight to and from Ireland to be recorded
- CO2 emissions to be calculated
based on the total air miles or kilometres travelled - and
- the total offsetting cost calculated, based on a set
price per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2)
emitted - the price of which will be determined by the Department
of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on an
It is proposed that the value of the total offsetting requirement
for the year will be invested on behalf of Ireland by the
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership
in renewable energy and energy efficiency offsetting projects
in one or a number of Ireland’s priority least-developed countries.
The scheme will fulfill the Programme for Government and
Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012 commitments to introduce
a carbon-offsetting scheme for all air travel on Government
business and will retrospectively account for all official
air travel since the coming into office of the Government
on 14 June 2007.
The Minister, on finalising the logistical and administrative
arrangements for the scheme, will be informing all Government
Departments (and Agencies under their aegis) of the detailed
arrangements for offsetting their aviation emissions. The
scheme will operate on an annual basis starting in 2008.