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 Header Item Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
 Header Item Climate Action and Low Carbon Development: Statements

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 993 No. 9

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Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Before proceeding, the House must agree arrangements for the item of business we are about to take, that is, the annual transition statements with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. These arrangements are as follows: there will be a ten-minute opening speech by the Minister; 15 minutes each for Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin; and ten minutes for all other parties and groups. Are those arrangements agreed? Agreed. The normal Order of Business will be taken at 12 noon.

Climate Action and Low Carbon Development: Statements

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton It is an honour to have the opportunity to make a transition statement at this time, as we are almost at the first anniversary of the publication of Ireland's first ever whole-of-government climate action plan, which was published around 17 June last year. We have made significant progress in both the Oireachtas and the Government over that period. For example, the Oireachtas unanimously declared a climate and biodiversity emergency and the Government published the scheme of the Bill which will revolutionise the way we deal with climate. It will introduce, for the first time, five-year climate budgets and it will set a target for the 2050 net zero emissions that Ireland aspires to deliver. That will be very significant. It will also introduce entirely new accountability within the House. Instead of this transition statement, which has come into disrepute within the House, each Minister will be sectorally responsible and there will be a powerful Oireachtas committee with similar powers to the Committee of Public Accounts which will oversee our responsibilities in respect of climate. That will be a very significant change for the House.

We have also passed the commitment to a carbon price, which is the first increase of that carbon price and that money is hypothecated, as economists would say. All the proceeds are being used to drive on climate action, either in the form of just transition such as the significant packages for the midlands, or by supporting those who are worst equipped to fund such changes with schemes like the better energy, warmer homes scheme or the fuel scheme, and increasing our activities in all types of measures that deliver climate action.

Another very significant milestone is the signing of the contract for the national broadband plan, which we signed in January. People will see how significant broadband has been over the course of the Covid-19 crisis in providing an alternative to our conventional ways of travelling and working, which are highly carbon-dependent, by using remote working opportunities. Such opportunities have certainly revolutionised the way people are now working.

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