Apologies have been received from Deputy Imelda Munster. We will take the normal business of the committee at Thursday's meeting. The Comptroller and Auditor General Report on the Accounts of the Public Services 2018 includes a chapter on greenhouse gas-related financial transactions. Ireland has a number of targets related to climate change that it must meet and there are potential financial consequences for not meeting these. Ireland has not met its targets since 2013 and has spent €121 million purchasing carbon credits to date to comply with these obligations. The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment estimates that a further €2 million to €14 million will need to be spent up to 2020 in this regard.
In its Periodic Report No. 6, this committee addressed the failure of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to reach targets relating to carbon emissions and renewable energy. Today, we have invited before us representatives from the Central Statistics Office, CSO, and Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI, to discuss research they have carried out and published relating to carbon taxation and measures taken that have affected carbon emissions. We have noted this in recent months. We are not trying to decide policy but rather ascertain whether those already implemented are having a positive effect or otherwise.
Three research papers have been circulated to members: Fossil Fuels and Similar Subsidies from the CSO; Carbon Taxation in Ireland: Distributional Effects of Revenue Recycling Policies, which is an ESRI special article; and The Economic and Distributional Impacts of an Increased Carbon Tax with Different Revenue Recycling Schemes, an ESRI research paper published in October. Today's meeting will help inform the committee and we will have a meeting with representatives of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on 19 November, which is in two weeks. We will meet representatives of the Revenue Commissioners on 28 November and we can raise issues relating to carbon tax collection.
I welcome our witnesses. From the CSO there is Mr. Paul Morrin, assistant director general, and Mr. Gerry Brady, senior statistician; and from the ESRI we have Dr. Aykut Mert Yaku and Dr. Miguel Tovar Reaños, research officers. I thank them for coming before the committee this evening on a voluntary basis to discuss their research. This is unlike other meetings, when we have Accounting Officers who are obliged to be present. We wanted the witnesses to assist us in our work such that when we meet the Accounting Officer, we will have a good volume of information. We are not experts in the area so we thought a meeting with the witnesses would be helpful in informing us in our subsequent meetings.
I remind members and witnesses, as well as those people in the Gallery, that all mobile phones should be switched off or put in airplane mode. Merely putting phones in silent mode can still lead to them interfering with the recording system.
I wish to advise witnesses that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, they are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to this committee. If they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of your evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise nor make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. That is a standard warning read at every meeting and it is not specifically directed at today's witnesses. It is routine.
Members of the committee are reminded of the provisions of Standing Order 186 to the effect that they shall refrain from inquiring into the merits of a policy or policies of the Government or a Minister of the Government or the merits of the objectives of such policy. While we expect witnesses to answer questions asked by the committee with candour, we should remember to treat witnesses with courtesy. We have received opening remarks for today's meeting and these can be noted and published.