That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to provide for the amendment of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960, to ensure regard is had to national and global environmental considerations including the annual average global temperature, the monthly mean level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and other matters, when issuing licences, undertakings and leases under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960 and to provide for related matters.
Similar to the Bill I have just withdrawn, this Bill seeks to stop the issuing by the State of licences for further exploration of fossil fuels in this country. However, it is a little more robust and the language has been altered in that it takes account of the Government's policies on climate change. As stated this morning by Professor John Sweeney of Maynooth University at a briefing in the AV Room, the Bill is fully in line with Government policy. When speaking recently about Ireland's performance on climate change, the Taoiseach described Ireland as the laggard in Europe, something with which I agree. The Bill attempts to address that issue and in so doing takes into account the Government's national transition objectives, the national mitigation plan and all national adaptation frameworks on climate change.
Second Stage will be taken next Wednesday and I appeal to all Deputies to take the Bill seriously. This is one of the most crucial issues facing not only Ireland but also the planet. We have done a great deal of work on the Bill and would like Deputies to take on board what we are trying to do and take it seriously because we do not have a lot of time to act. The issue is urgent. In the past five years the Opposition introduced Bills to remove the eighth amendment, but they were rejected time and again. Five years on, they are being adopted by the Government. However, we do not have five years to wait to deal with the question of climate change. We need to catch up on performance so as not be the laggard of Europe. I look forward to debating the Bill next Wednesday.