Skip to main content
Normal View

Thursday, 4 Nov 2021

Written Answers Nos. 195-213

Horticulture Sector

Questions (195)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

195. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will address the crisis facing the Irish horticulture sector owing to the effective ban on indigenous peat harvesting; if he will seek the immediate publication of the report of the working group on the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53792/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I have no function in relation to the development of the horticultural sector nor the sourcing of peat for that sector. The report of the Working Group on the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry was commissioned by Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, T.D., and I have no function in relation to its approval or publication.

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (196)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

196. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the details of the cross-Border Project Ireland 2040 infrastructure projects and the funding allocated for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53843/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The National Planning Framework - Project Ireland 2040 sets out 9 National Policy Objectives to support all-island cooperation across themes of: working together for economic advantage; coordination of investment in infrastructure; and managing our shared environment responsibilities.

My Department has a key role in delivering on a number of these objectives, working with Agencies under our aegis, State Owned Entities and other cross government agencies and counterparts in Northern Ireland:

- to work together for mutual advantage on environmental protection and management

- to work together to ensure effective management of shared landscapes, heritage, water catchments, habitats, species and trans-boundary issues in relation to environmental policy

- to strengthen all-island energy infrastructure and interconnection capacity, including distribution and transmission of  - networks to enhance security of electricity supply,

- to develop a stable, innovative and secure digital communications and services infrastructure on an all-island basis

The delivery of these objectives will be achieved through a number of investment channels including my Department's annual capital ceilings as set out in the National Development Plan 2021-2030, the investment capacity of State Owned Entities and other funding mechanisms such as the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme 2.  The detailed planning for a number of programmes under the new NDP are still being completed and the allocation of funding will be finalised pending the outcome of our planning process.

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (197)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

197. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the details of his Department’s current cross-Border initiatives, goods and or services committed to and the funding allocated to each for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53861/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department currently provides funding to the Loughs Agency, one of the two constituent agencies of the Foyle Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission. The table below details the 2021 allocation and the provisional 2022 allocation which will be finalised in the Revised Estimates Volume in December. The 2023 figures will be decided as part of the 2023 Budgetary Estimates Process.

Cross-Border Funding

Funding Allocated in €m's

Agency/Contract

2021

2022*

2023**

Loughs Agency

2.9

2.9

TBD

* Final figures at subhead level will be finalised in the REV in December.

** 2023 allocations will be decided as part of the 2023 Budgetary Estimates Process.

Under EU and national rules, the public procurement of goods and services contracts above certain thresholds must be awarded on the basis of objective and non-restrictive criteria. The aim of these European rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. My Department maintains records of all procured contracts based on the type of goods or services supplied, and not on a geographical basis. Therefore we are not in a position to collate the information in the manner requested.

Legislative Measures

Question No. 199 answered with Question No. 198.

Question No. 200 answered with Question No. 198.

Questions (198, 199, 200)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

198. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the reason the upper rate of the plastics tax levy is set at a max of €1 in the heads of the circular economy Bill; the basis for setting this rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53883/21]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

199. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which he proposes to engage with stakeholders likely to be affected by the proposed legislation in respect of the circular economy Bill; if there will be consultation with industry, academics and civil society groups built into the decision-making process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53884/21]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

200. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the procedure for the removal of a product from the market under the circular economy Bill for environmental reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53885/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 198 to 200, inclusive, together.

The Circular Economy Bill 2021, which was approved by Government for priority drafting in June this year, aims to support Ireland’s transition to a circular economy by providing the necessary legislative basis for several key measures including the Circular Economy Strategy; the Circular Economy Programme; the National Food Loss Prevention Roadmap; and the Circular Economy Fund. The Bill also gives the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the power to introduce environmental levies on certain single-use items, and to prohibit their placing on the market where a suitable re-usable alternative is, or could be made, readily available. These measures will be introduced by means of secondary legislation.

Building on the success of the plastic bag and landfill levies, the proposed new economic instruments are intended to incentivise more sustainable consumer behaviours, and not to be revenue raising measures. Therefore, it was deemed appropriate to cap the maximum rate chargeable while ensuring that this maximum was set at a level which ensured that the levies could retain their dissuasive effect over time, taking account of the potential for inflation over the lifespan of the levies. A €1 maximum was deemed appropriate to meet these requirements. The initial rate of the levy will be set by way of secondary legislation and is expected to be significantly lower than the €1 maximum provided for in the Bill.

The measures in the Bill have been the subject of extensive consultation as part of the development of both the Government’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy and the forthcoming Circular Economy Strategy, due to be published shortly. In respect of the Waste Action Plan, stakeholders are also represented through a cross-sectoral Waste Advisory Group. This forum has proved very successful, and a Circular Economy Advisory Group will be established to provide for a similar approach to the implementation of the Circular Economy Strategy. Where any measures provided for in the Bill are to be introduced by way of secondary legislation, these measures will be the subject of further consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Question No. 199 answered with Question No. 198.
Question No. 200 answered with Question No. 198.

Environmental Policy

Questions (201)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

201. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which his Department has examined the fullest possible extent to which all measures to offset the impact of meeting such targets on industry, sector by sector with particular reference to the need to avoid permanent damage to the economy while at the same time meeting carbon reduction targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53890/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Environmental Protection Agency recently reported that Ireland’s 2020 greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 3.6% compared with 2019 levels which indicates the challenge faced in delivering substantial and sustained emissions reductions.

The EPA report that emissions relating to Manufacturing Combustion and Industrial Processes combined accounted for 11.5% of Ireland’s total emissions in 2020. Emissions from the Manufacturing Combustion sector decreased by 1.5% or 0.07 Mt CO2eq in 2020. There were decreases in combustion emissions from major sub sectors including chemical and non-metallic minerals (includes cement) which decreased by 2.6% and 3.7% respectively in 2020 whereas combustion emissions from food and drink increased by 2.4%.

The measures required to achieve our climate ambition will be set out in the soon to be published Climate Action Plan 2021 and will include a significant step up of ambition in the industry sector. The Plan more generally will set out the range of measures across all sectors required to achieve 51% emissions reduction by 2030 and set us on a path-way to net zero by 2050 at the latest.

Further to the enactment of the Climate Act, the Climate Change Advisory Council has recently advised proposed economy-wide carbon budgets for the periods 2021-2025 and 2026-2030, and a provisional budget for 2031-2035. Sectoral emissions ceilings, including for the enterprise sector, will be set in accordance with the process set out in the Act.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (202)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

202. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the measures intended to be taken by the agri-food sector, the transport sector, the manufacturing sector and the services sector in terms of meeting carbon reduction targets set; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53891/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 commits Ireland to a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050, and a reduction of 51% by 2030.

The Climate Action Plan 2021 will put Ireland on a more sustainable path, cutting emissions, creating a cleaner, greener economy and society and protecting us from the devastating consequences of climate change. The Plan sets out indicative ranges of emissions reductions for each sector of the economy. It also sets out the actions needed to deliver on our climate targets, across all economic sectors, including agriculture, transport and enterprise.

The Government will support the changes through major public investment announced recently in the €165bn National Development Plan, including increased funding for retrofitting our homes, building new public transport, reskilling workers, and supporting a just transition.

Environmental Policy

Question No. 204 answered with Question No. 203.

Question No. 205 answered with Question No. 203.

Questions (203, 204, 205, 208)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

203. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which his Department has evaluated the potential negative impact of meeting carbon reduction targets; the degree to which amelioration measures can be utilised to assist in meeting such targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53892/21]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

204. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which he and his Department continue to consult with his Ministerial colleagues with a view to meeting carbon reduction targets while avoiding potentially permanent damage to the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53893/21]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

205. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which he continues to consult with the relevant Minister and the agri-food producing sector with a view to ensuring that carbon reduction targets can be met while at the same time meeting economic targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53894/21]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

208. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which his Department has studied a report (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53898/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 to 205, inclusive, and 208 together.

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 commits Ireland to a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050, and a reduction of 51% by 2030.

The Climate Action Plan 2021 will put Ireland on a more sustainable path, cutting emissions, creating a cleaner, greener economy and society and protecting us from the devastating consequences of climate change. The Plan sets out indicative ranges of emissions reductions for each sector of the economy based on their respective starting points, and the relative difficulty, cost, speed, and benefits, of reducing emissions. It also sets out the actions needed to deliver on our climate targets, across all economic sectors, including agriculture, transport and enterprise. My Department has engaged proactively with the public, stakeholders, and other Government Departments in preparing the Plan.

The Government will support the changes through major public investment announced recently in the €165bn National Development Plan, including increased funding for retrofitting our homes, building new public transport, reskilling workers, and supporting a just transition.

Question No. 204 answered with Question No. 203.
Question No. 205 answered with Question No. 203.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (206)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

206. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the targets set for the achievement of carbon sequestration over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53896/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Programme for Government recognises that the next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate crisis and commits to a 51% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions over the decade and to achieving a climate neutral economy no later than 2050. These commitments have since been placed on a statutory footing through the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021.

The Climate Act provides for carbon budgets and sectoral ceilings to be put in place, which will determine how each sector of the economy will contribute to the achievement of the carbon budgets. These budgets take account of carbon emissions from the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector. This sector includes activities associated with forestry, croplands, grasslands, wetlands, settlements, and other lands. Ireland is currently a net-emitter of greenhouse gases from the LULUCF sector to the order of 4.8 MtCO2-eq per year.

LULUCF has the potential to be managed as a net-sink for greenhouse gases and the Government recognises this potential for carbon sequestration. The Climate Action Plan 2021, which I will shortly publish, shall set out a range of policies and measures in respect of enhancing our carbon sequestration from land activities.

Furthermore, the Programme for Government commitment for a national land use review is under way and it will consider options for how we might improve the management our land to meet our climate, biodiversity, water rand socioeconomic goals. The first phase, the ‘Evidential Review’ is currently under preparation, overseen by a Steering Group co-chaired by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Renewable Energy Generation

Question No. 208 answered with Question No. 203.

Questions (207)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

207. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which a strategy or policy is being considered to make a fuel (details supplied) available or which can be made available with a view to reduction of dependence on fossil fuels given its 90% plus efficiency in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53897/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a by-product of oil. Bio-LPG is an equivalent fuel that is produced from bioenergy. There are limited amounts of bio-LPG currently used in Ireland.

My Department recently carried out a consultation on the potential introduction of a renewable energy obligation in the heat sector. Such an obligation, if introduced, would require the suppliers of fossil fuels for use in the heat sector to also supply renewable energy. The level of renewable energy that would have to be supplied would be based on a proportion of the fossil fuels supplied. The obligation could potentially be met through the supply of renewable gas, biomass or renewable fuels such as bio-LPG. Such an obligation could incentivise an increase in the use of such fuels. The consultation is now closed and my Department is considering the responses received.

Question No. 208 answered with Question No. 203.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 210 answered with Question No. 188.

Questions (209)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

209. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which he has studied the basis on which other EU countries and non-EU countries propose to meet their carbon reduction targets while minimising the impact on industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53899/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement. The EU and its Member States, acting jointly, submitted an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC on 17 December 2020, which confirmed a commitment to a binding target of a net domestic reduction of at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.

This level of ambition for the next decade will put the EU on a balanced pathway to reaching climate neutrality by 2050. Legislative proposals to implement the new EU 2030 target have been presented by the European Commission in their "Fit for 55" package, and additional effort will be asked of all Member States, including Ireland.

All signatories to the Paris Agreement must submit an NDC to the UNFCC. NDCs embody efforts by each country or Party to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Question No. 210 answered with Question No. 188.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 212 answered with Question No. 22.

Question No. 213 answered with Question No. 22.

Questions (211)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

211. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he expects decisions at international level in respect of climate change to ensure an equal distribution of the economy insofar as climate change measures may do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53901/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Ireland is committed to concerted global actions to address the climate crisis and engages in negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement through its membership of the European Union (EU). Ireland has actively engaged with EU partners in preparation for the 26th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP26) in Glasgow which commenced on 31 October and will conclude on 12 November 2021. I will lead Ireland’s National Delegation for the continuation of the high-level segment during the second week of COP26.

Ireland is committed to playing an active and constructive role at the COP this year, particularly on issues linked to our climate priorities and with the intention of illustrating greater strategic coherency between our international climate agenda and our domestic climate ambition.

The scientific evidence demonstrates that the atmosphere is warming and the climate is changing with each passing year. These changes will cause extensive direct and indirect harm to Ireland and its people, as well as to other countries more exposed and less able than we are to withstand the associated impacts. This year’s COP is crucial in ensuring that climate action is taken in a manner that balances considerations of fairness, cost effectiveness and solidarity, ensuring that no one is left behind.

In an Irish economic context, more proactive capacity to manage transition based on enhanced support in areas such as worker development, enterprise resilience, and funding will be required. Lifelong learning, training and education, effective support for viable but vulnerable companies, and ensuring that funding has the greatest possible local impact is a priority.

Question No. 212 answered with Question No. 22.
Question No. 213 answered with Question No. 22.
Top
Share