Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (75)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

75. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to support the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment) (Climate Emergency Measures) Bill 2018 to cease issuing licences for fossil fuel extraction in view of the declaration by Dáil Éireann of a climate emergency and that an end to fossil fuel extraction is a central demand of the climate change movement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21790/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency by Dáil Éireann and the decision of the House to endorse the report of the Joint Committee on Climate Action was supported by the Government. The Government has welcomed the publication of the Joint Committee’s report, which should be seen as a milestone in the development of Ireland’s climate policy.

The Government is responding with urgency by putting in place an ambitious all of Government plan, with actions across every sector which will deliver verifiable reductions in our emissions, and with clear responsibility for delivery.

Both the Citizen's Assembly and the Joint Committee on Climate Action did not recommend an end to exploration for Ireland's natural resources. In a European context, the UK, Norway, and Denmark, as well as Ireland, continue to explore and produce natural gas and oil to help meet a part of Europe’s future energy needs, and reduce Europe's energy imports from outside the EU, while Europe plays a leading role globally in the transition to a low carbon future.

The Government does not support the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment) (Climate Emergency Measures) Bill 2018 as it will not reduce our emissions or help us meet our targets. Furthermore, the Bill fails to take account of our energy security. Beyond the Corrib gas field, which is already in decline and the soon to be depleted Kinsale gas, the Bill will make it mandatory for us to import all our oil and gas needs in the future as we transition to a low-carbon economy. This at a time where the EU’s import dependency is increasing, reaching 70% for natural gas and 87% for petroleum and petroleum products. It should also be noted that Ireland already has low energy self-sufficiency and a relatively isolated island electricity grid.