Business of Joint Committee

Chairman

The joint committee is in public session. Apologies have been received from Deputy Munster.

Before we deal with the main business scheduled, I wish to state that I believe the work we are doing is really useful and the various hearings have been productive, but for us to be able to write a report we need more details back from each of the Departments that has already presented to us. Specifically, we have not got from any of them the additional measures they are considering putting into a draft plan, measures that go beyond what would be either included in the national development plan or the previous national mitigation plan. We know that neither of those brings us anywhere near the sorts of targets we have to reach. I suggest we write to various Secretaries General requesting them to write to us in a timely fashion - it would have to be in the next week or two at the latest - outlining, in specific detail, the additional options they are examining in order that we can consider them as part of our work in drafting our report and to assist us in our contribution to this process. It is important the committee would write seeking such specific details from each of the Secretaries General who has appeared before the committee in order that we have tangible material with which to work in the drafting of our report.

Chairman

Very good. Are members agreeable to that?

As stated by the Minister, Deputy Bruton, in the significant speech he made on this issue, we need to push ourselves. The Department needs to push forward on this issue. I draw the attention of members' to the text of that speech.

Where was that delivered?

Chairman

In Dublin Castle.

Yes, in Dublin Castle a few days ago.

Chairman

Yes, last week. The Minister stated that Ireland needs to be a leader on climate change, not a follower.

Exactly. That is the type of vision we need to have in our report. I would have no issue with asking the Secretaries General to come up with what they believe is their remit regarding how they can push the meeting of the targets. We need to push the Departments to come up with solutions.

Chairman

Yes. The new Minister, Deputy Bruton, was speaking at the EU Climate-KIC Summit in Dublin Castle where he outlined that Ireland needs to be a leader now, not a follower. He also stated there is a need for new initiatives across electricity, transport, heat as well as a range of other sectors. He will appear before our committee on 5 December. I agree with Deputy Eamon Ryan's point in that we would need to get a response from the Secretaries General of the Departments outlining what actions they plan to take together with clear targets and timeframes for them before that meeting with the Minister.

We need to get specific measurable and achievable actions together with a timeframe for them. The issue facing us is extremely grave, particularly in light of the 12-year timeframe outlined in the UN report. We need to ask them to be very specific and outline how they will take undertake new actions they plan to take and to give us a timeframe for them. As was said, we need them to give us targets with measurable timeframes so that we can see there is some realism to what they are putting to us.

Chairman

We would ask them for the extra measures to be taken, the impact they will have on decarbonisation, and timeframes and timelines for them.

Chairman

We would ask them to submit that information to our committee by Friday, 30 November, or certainly in advance of the Minister, Deputy Bruton's appearance before our committee. Is that agreed? Agreed.

We will suspend briefly to allow the witnesses to take their seats.

Sitting suspended at 2.08 p.m. and resumed at 2.09 p.m.