Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2211)

Bríd Smith


2211. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress made with a national survey of fuel poverty and those in need of supports as agreed by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action. [32234/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I published the Government's Climate Action Plan 2019 on 17 June. The plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also puts Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Plan has been strongly informed by the work of the Citizens Assembly and the work of the All Party Committee on Climate Action which managed to achieve a broad cross-Party consensus on a number of difficult issues.The Plan sets out over 180 actions with a strong focus on the just transition and addressing energy poverty. This includes a commitment to reviewing ways to improve how current energy poverty schemes target those most in need. In addition, my Department and the SEAI are participating in a Central Statistics Office led project to develop energy poverty indicators. The results of this project will provide a more nuanced view of energy poverty in Ireland and will include spatial elements to facilitate targeting of households most in need. It is anticipated that this work will provide valuable outputs in terms of informing future national policy, satisfying upcoming EU requirements on energy poverty and presenting key statistics in the public domain to further our understanding of how to solve energy poverty.

A bottom-up analysis of fuel poverty in Ireland was previously published by my Department in late 2015. This report examined both the ‘extent’ of fuel poverty (ie how many households are in fuel poverty) and the ‘severity’ of fuel poverty (ie how much of a household’s income is require to be spent on fuel). The report can be downloaded from: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/An%20Objective%20Analysis%20of%20Energy%20Poverty%20in%20Ireland.pdf.

A public consultation to ascertain the views of the public on the options for the use of revenues raised from increases in the Carbon Tax recently concluded. The Department of Finance consultation paper identified a range of potential options including a number of fuel poverty options. A copy of the consultation paper can be downloaded from: https://assets.gov.ie/9384/b078dbb6c7614c748b897ba01b481532.pdf.

The Deputy may also be interested in the recently published ESRI report titled ‘Carbon taxation in Ireland: distributional effects of revenue recycling policies’. This report is available at: https://www.esri.ie/publications/carbon-taxation-in-ireland-distributional-effects-of-revenue-recycling-policies.