Climate Change and Natural Resources, Dáil Issues, Environment

To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeline for implementing the recommendations of the final report of the Citizens’ Assembly, How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change, in view of the recent global student strike for climate action. – Clare Daly.

REPLY: Climate Disruption is the greatest challenge facing humanity. That is why the Oireachtas requested the Citizens Assembly, which has played a great role in motivating change in our society, to examine Ireland’s role in meeting this challenge.

Its recommendations are being taken very seriously both by the Oireachtas and by the government.

The Joint Committee on Climate Action was established by resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas on 3 July 2018 to consider the third report and recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly entitled ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change’. The Committee is due to report to both Houses by 28 March 2019. In the context of the consideration of each of the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly, it is a matter for the Joint Committee to consider and recommend whether and how each recommendation might be taken up by Government.

In parallel with the work of the Committee, and on foot of a Government Decision on 20 November 2018, work has been underway across all Departments to prepare a new All of Government Climate Action Plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change.

This involves working with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives in electricity, transport, heat, and agriculture, as well as a range of other sectors. The new plan will have a strong focus on implementation, including actions with specific timelines and steps needed to achieve each action, assigning clear lines of responsibility for delivery. The new plan will also be informed by successful approaches in other countries.

This plan will build on the previous actions taken by Government, including in the National Mitigation Plan and the National Development Plan, and is to be completed shortly.

In developing this Plan, I intend that it will address any recommendations that the Joint Committee include in their report.

For Oral Answer on : 27/03/2019
Question Number(s): 74 Question Reference(s): 14011/19
Department: Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Asked by: Clare Daly T.D.

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the policy in regard to grants of permission for the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure such as the plan to build a large industrial terminal on the Shannon estuary will be reviewed in view of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. – Clare Daly.

REPLY: Successive governments have underlined the commitment to move from a fossil fuel-based electricity system to a low-carbon power system. Almost two thirds of renewable energy used in Ireland comes from renewable electricity.

It is widely recognised that Ireland needs to make a step change in its climate ambitions and I have secured Government approval to develop an all of Government plan which will set out the actions which must be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. This Plan will include the steps which we must take in order to achieve this and I am working with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives across electricity, transport and heat, as well as a range of other sectors.

In all projected transitions to a low carbon economy by 2050, gas will continue to play a role in sustaining the transition. It plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the power generation, industrial and commercial, residential and transport sectors by replacing more CO2-intensive fossil fuels. In Ireland, gas powered generation also provides an important back-up for intermittent renewable wind generation. An LNG facility would further enhance Ireland’s energy security by increasing import route diversity and there is currently no plan to review energy policy surrounding the construction of such facilities.

Decisions on consents for the construction of an LNG plant would be a matter for the relevant consenting authorities, but it is widely known that commercial developers have proposed a number for development, including the Shannon LNG project and another project in Cork. Final investment decisions for these projects and compliance with any legal and regulatory requirements in relation to consents or permits are the responsibility of the project promoters.

The production, sourcing, buying and selling of natural gas produced outside this jurisdiction would also be an operational matter for the undertakings involved. Any undertaking would be required to comply with EU law in this area.