Wednesday, 30 November 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Kelly: The Green Party, the Labour Party and Fine Gael have sensible Members, most of whom are present. However, I cannot believe the proposed Bill. The economy and jobs must be priorities for everyone. They are priorities for the Government. With such proposed legislation, the people will believe the Green Party has gone mad.
Mr. Nolan: However, it is important to remember that this is not the first time we have seen climate changes. It is a cyclical process. For example, we have experienced ice ages. Afterwards, we experienced climate warming.
Mr. Nolan: The international framework for addressing climate change already contains legally binding targets through the Kyoto Protocol, under which Ireland has targets that it is fully committed to meeting. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Roche, made this quite clear in his speech to the House.
If anything, we have been far too generous in committing too much in the Kyoto Agreement negotiations. It did not take adequate account of the significant improvement in the Irish economy then taking place. We did better than many of our European partners but, at the same time, our costs for complying with the protocol will be severe. Many of our indigenous industries will pay heavily to comply with the process.
Ireland’s Kyoto Protocol target was the product of years of negotiation beginning in the mid-1990s. The protocol was ratified by the Government. The Green Party’s Bill, with its intention of making legal commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, is praiseworthy but it has not been thought through. I am more than surprised that Fine Gael and the Labour Party will probably vote with the Green Party.
Mr. Nolan: As speakers have pointed out, this Bill does not contain any information on how Ireland would achieve those reductions. Targets such as these are all very well but no country anywhere would agree targets that have the potential to do so much damage to their industries. Where would we search for foreign direct investment were we to pass this legislation? It should be reviewed. The Government is taking a positive approach by opposing the Bill and I commend the Minister on what he is doing for the country.
Mr. O’Connor: I welcome this opportunity as I am always happy to speak on Private Members’ business. Deputy Nolan nearly praised the Green Party for introducing this Bill and I compliment him on giving us an opportunity to speak. It is unfortunate that there will not be agreement but this will be so for many good reasons. The Bill is timely in the sense that I hope climate change and environmental matters stay on our minds.
My grandmother believed that, when the Russians and Americans went into space, it was the ruination of the world as we knew it. Much has changed since then. We have watched television reports from Montreal this week. It is important that we listen to what is being said in this respect. That meeting on climate change is particularly significant as I am told it is the first such conference since the Kyoto Protocol came into effect. It is an event we should mark.
Other colleagues have made a point about the difficulties presented by the Bill. I will not be parochial simply because I come from a major population centre where we take the question of the environment very seriously. One matter I was involved in when I was chairman of South Dublin County Council in 1999 was the launch of a major employment project which was sited in Deputy Curran’s constituency of Clondalkin and had significant impacts as far as Tallaght was concerned. The Wyeth medicare campus in Grange Castle now provides more than 1,300 jobs, many of which are filled by people from my constituency. I am sure Deputy Curran will articulate a point clearly, namely, that many people in his and my constituencies will examine this Private Members’ business, wonder about those jobs and the Bill’s impact on their lives. I examined a website today that listed the companies that would be deeply affected were this Bill passed.
We all have a responsibility. Deputy Kelly said we should be responsible and examine this issue in a reasonable way. We should understand the profound effect the Bill would have on many jobs in everyone’s constituency, mine included. I suspect my colleagues in the Opposition will ponder this fact over the next hour or so, which they should. The Minister has been very reasonable. I listened carefully to what he said when he put forward the Government’s position. He does not want me to praise his work but he shows that he has an interest in the environment. He examines all aspects of it, which is of great concern to us all. Once again, he has demonstrated in this debate that he has his finger on the pulse. He will listen to what people say. He is not going to take on board legislation which will not work.
Mr. Finneran: As someone from a rural constituency I am amazed that such a Bill has reached the floor of this House. It is a recipe for the closing down of two important levels of activity in my constituency. The farming community will be forced to cut back drastically and the pharmaceutical industry——
I have every confidence the Bill will not be enacted because the common sense of this House and the other House will not allow it to be enacted. The Bill, if enacted, would cause the farming community in my constituency, for which I speak, to retract and reduce to the extent that our contribution to the local economy would be reduced so much that farming would no longer be important. The farming sector directly employs 8,000 people in County Roscommon and more are employed indirectly. The Bill would have a detrimental effect on the major processing plants in the county, such as the Elan Corporation in south Roscommon, Masonite on the Roscommon-Leitrim border and Shannonside in Ballaghadereen. Without question the Electricity Supply Board’s power stations in Lanesborough and Shannonbridge would be affected. These are facts that cannot be disputed.
The economics of this Bill have not been fully thought through. If Ireland were to commit to targets such as proposed in this Bill, the emissions reduction would have to come from somewhere unspecified. The Green Party and other speakers in favour of this Bill did not tell the House where these would come from. I will outline how emissions reduction of this magnitude can only be achieved. It can only be achieved by such a reduction in herd numbers that Ireland could become a net importer of food. It can only be achieved by the closing down of any Irish industry with carbon emissions, such as the closing down of the cement industry and forcing the ESB either to close down all its plants or to increase massively the cost of electricity to consumers. This would make the country completely unattractive for any further foreign direct investment. The price of petrol and diesel would become so costly that the ordinary motorist could not afford to run a car and hauliers could not afford to run a business.
I can accept that the Green Party is very sincere in moving this Bill. However, I am amazed to see other parties lining up to support it. I can only conclude that they have not read the Bill or they have completely failed to understand its meaning. I fail to understand the involvement of other Opposition parties in support of this Bill.
I have listened over the years to the nonsense from the Green Party regarding issues that are important to this country and to my constituency, particularly regarding one-off rural housing, live exports and power production from peat extraction in the midlands. The Green Party objected to the power station in my constituency of Roscommon-Longford——
I assure the House that the reaction from the farming and business community and the ordinary people in my constituency is that this is a crazy Bill which is based on all types of ideology that does not meet the needs or the future needs of this country. It should be disposed of as soon as possible. I ask that this House votes this Bill down in a way that will give a message that this type of nonsense should not come onto the floor of this House.
The international framework for addressing climate change already contains legally binding targets through the Kyoto Protocol. Ireland is fully committed to meeting its target under the Kyoto Protocol, as was made clear by the Minister, Deputy Roche, in his speech to the House. It may be difficult to achieve that target but I hope we do.
Ireland’s Kyoto target was the product of years of negotiation, beginning in the mid-1990s and culminating in the ratification of the protocol by Ireland in 2002, together with other European Union member states. This Bill does not acknowledge this process.
The implications of this legally enforceable right proposed in the Bill would be to force the Government to adopt policies that ensure Ireland’s emissions are 30% below 1990 values by 2020, no matter what the consequences. What would this mean in the context of Ireland’s growth, its existing industries and employment and its foreign direct investment policies? The implications of this Bill are stark. The effort to eliminate sources of emissions would mean serious damage to Ireland’s economy, its agriculture, heavy industry such as cement and alumina production and the food processing sector. This would be the real world implication of this Bill. Ireland would be the only country in the world to allow wholesale destruction of its economy to satisfy somewhat arbitrary and legally binding targets.
The Minister stated in his contribution that Government policy on climate change targets is based on international commitments made and ratified. This Bill is not based on any existing commitments. The Kyoto Protocol is the only such commitment that exists. Ireland has its target under this protocol and is fully committed to meeting this target.
It sets a dangerous precedent to enshrine such targets in legislation, especially when targets are not based on any international agreement. There is no precedent for such an approach. Deputy Boyle referred to the National Pensions Reserve Fund as an example of a precedent. There is no comparison. One piece of legislation commits the Minister for Finance to invest a set percentage of gross national product into a fund for pensions; the other sets targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases completely in excess of what is appropriate or possible for the economy.
Mr. Cregan: The ESB will be forced to charge exorbitant prices. The country will be completely unattractive for any foreign investment. The price of petrol and diesel will be out of reach for the ordinary motorist. The reduction of 30% will be achieved in my constituency of Limerick West by the closing down of Aughinish Alumina, Wyeth Nutritionals in Askeaton and Irish Cement.
Mr. Cregan: That is where the Green Party will find its targets and it is unacceptable. The Green Party, if nothing else, is consistent. I respect its views and policies, but I am surprised other parties, and my colleagues from west Limerick, are prepared to come into this House to vote to lose jobs in Aughinish Alumina and Wyeth Nutritionals Ireland in Askeaton, and I defy them to do that. That should not happen and I hope it will not happen. I am being realistic. I commend the Minister for the manner in which he is setting out to achieve our 13% plus target.
It is risible, if not ludicrous, to see the Fianna Fáil backbenchers, Deputies Kelly, Finneran and Cregan, coming in here like a trio of ventriloquist’s dummies. One can almost see the Minister, Deputy Roche’s hand up——
Mr. Broughan: They hope that will prevent a change of Government, but it may not work because many people are profoundly interested in the legislation before us. They might not agree with every line of it, however they feel it is a timely debate.
The Green Party must be commended for bringing forward this Bill, one of the major elements of which, as I understand it, is to provoke a debate year-on-year in this House from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Roche, and from the Ministers for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and Finance. That is a reasonable proposition, that the Minister would come in here, report to us on emissions targets and involve all the people in deciding what we might do in terms of changing our lives. This is about personal performance by citizens. It is fair enough for the Green Party to come in here and ask us to start on this road tonight, and I commend and congratulate them on that——
Mr. Broughan: Let us face it, the Minister knows that in 18 months’ time the election will be just over, and I hope every one of us here tonight, including Deputy Cregan, will be in the 30th Dáil. On that occasion, let us say that Fianna Fáil has 72 seats. The Minister will do whatever is required to try to make a majority because he believes in being in government, and rightly so because one can do nothing in opposition. If it suits the Minister, no doubt he will go across to Deputies Eamon Ryan and Cuffe and, despite this Bill or 100 Bills like it, ask them for parliamentary support. The Minister and I know that. One aspect of Fianna Fáil is that it believes in realpolitik. It does not mess around when it comes to staying in power. That is why it has been in power for 20 years.
Mr. Broughan: Yesterday Britain’s leading scientist, Robert McCredie, the outgoing President of the Royal Society and the former chief scientific adviser to the British Government, with outstanding academic credentials, in a major speech to coincide with the worldwide conference on climate change that opened in Montreal this week stated that the potentially devastating impact of climate change “invites comparison with weapons of mass destruction”. Such will be its impact on our culture.
We are talking about jobs. I personally believe in renewable energy. We heard a suggestion here about biofuels. There are many more jobs available. Let us look at this in a positive way. We must change our ways. Climate change is a reality.
The sad fact for the planet was that Mr. Bush was elected in 2000 and we have had to grapple with this for five or six years with a crowd of neanderthal American Government officials who will not accept the reality in front of our eyes accepted by every reputable scientist. Tonight the Minister and the Fianna Fáil Deputies prefaced their remarks by stating that climate change is a reality. That is why we are here, we are trying to discuss ways to address that.
Carbon dioxide is, of course, the primary greenhouse gas that is created by man-made emissions causing global warming and climate change. Such emissions rose from 280 parts per million before the onset of the Industrial Revolution to 380 ppm today. It is estimated that by the middle of this century they will have risen to an astonishing 500 ppm. The last time there were greenhouse gas emissions at this level was approximately 20 to 40 million years ago when sea levels were around 100 metres higher than today. A recent study published in the journal Science reported that current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years.
Like many colleagues, last night I watched coverage on one of the American news channels — I think it was ABC — of New Orleans, where there are only 60,000 people living in a city where once half a million people lived. It is a city bigger than Belfast and it has been reduced to this frightening position. This hurricane season has been the worst for two or three generations. We know what is happening, we need to take action to curb our greenhouse gas emissions drastically. We need to start thinking about it and tonight is a good opportunity for all of us to do so.
The European Environment Agency published a report, which is a shocking indictment of this Administration in the past eight or nine years. I do not have time to quote all the excerpts in this regard, but on our carbon emission targets and the likely 2010 targets, it is shocking that the European protection agency in Copenhagen feels that we are not addressing this problem seriously enough.
Climate change has been obvious across the European Continent, especially in the past few years. The hottest years on record were 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004. During the summer of 2003 temperatures across Europe were the highest on record, approximating at 3.6° centigrade higher than average. Approximately 50,000 Europeans died due to the extremes of heat during June, July and August of 2003 and there were serious and devastating forest fires across Italy, Spain and France, with considerable crop failures and river droughts in these countries. While people speak of changes in the economy, we are speaking of fundamental changes in the planet, and it is clear that we must address that.
Concerted political action is urgently necessary around the connected issues of climate change and planning for our energy future. Although global co-operation and action is essential for any practical and effective strategy in this regard, all states must put their own house in order first and do everything possible to ensure that they comply with agreed targets.
In recent days we have been reading frightening debates about the oil peak and whether oil production is due to peak in 2008 or 2030. The Minister probably saw the debate in the interesting magazine Prospect a few days ago. That is why there is general and widespread interest in the Bill.
We have failed badly on many of our environmental targets. One of them, about which I was very disappointed in particular and to which the Green Party also drew attention during the late summer, was the biofuels target. We had a 2% target for 2005, but we got nowhere near it. Less than one tenth of that target for biofuel was achieved.
The galloping emissions from transport are completely wrecking attempts to take control of greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously the Kyoto Protocol obligated all EU member states to reduce greenhouse gases by 8% from 1990 levels by 2012. There was agreement at the European Heads of Government and Environment Ministers in the spring of this year, as I understand it, on a 15% to 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and by 60% to 80% by 2050. Where did we hear those figures previously? People on the Government backbenches rubbished our Green colleagues in that regard. Often the Taoiseach does not really tell his backbenchers what he gets up to, but he seems to have agreed to this Bill in principle at a European Council meeting.
Clearly we must adopt a range of measures to begin addressing the problem that confronts us. I welcome the developments that have taken place in the UK, in particular, under its Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, where the system of assigned amount units, AAUs, and trading is up and running for the past year or so.
Besides the EU emissions trading scheme, recent EU measures that should start to deliver emission reductions soon include legislation to improve the energy performance of buildings from next January — the Irish Government is one of the EU states that has been extremely slow to bring the directive on energy performance into force and to promote combined heat and power generation. Many other existing EU policies and measures, according to the EPA, will hopefully start to deliver on these targets fairly shortly.
In general terms I welcome the Bill. It reminds me of the Bill the two British MPs, Dr. Alan Whitehead and Mr. Mark Lazarowicz, from our sister Labour Party in the UK brought before the House of Commons. Even the Tories supported the Bill and an early day motion went through. This Bill would mean we would have a debate on these matters annually and the public, both as individuals and communities, could get involved. As the Labour Party spokesperson on energy, I warmly congratulate the Green Party.
Mr. O’Dowd: I want to address a number of points. We will answer each of them in our own good time. Whether there is sufficient time tonight I do not know. I have spent most of my time today dealing with issues regarding climate change. Over the last few weeks I have met with the cement industry, with Eco Cement and Century Homes. Today I met representatives of the insurance industry. Climate change has arrived and we must feel it. We cannot avoid the issue, put our heads in the sand and act like the Fianna Fáil backbenchers who were totally inane as regards the silly points they made. This is the most important debate we could have in this House for the next generation. It will take a generation to escalate the momentum to reverse the climate change that has already occurred. It has taken 150 years to produce the present-day situation where the temperature is 20°C higher than it was before the industrial revolution.
We must row back as much as we can. Fine Gael has a coherent planned policy on this. We support the aspirations in the Green Party Bill. It is an aspirational rather than a line by line critique that we offer tonight. Nonetheless, we are in favour of the debate and we welcome the Green Party’s input. This year’s Estimates provide a figure of €20 million to the OPW for flood relief. That is totally inadequate. Flood relief is necessitated by the impact of climate change that gives rise to flooding in places such as Clonmel and Kilkenny. In Kilkenny alone the Bill for last year effectively was €45 million to meet the insurance calamity that occurred there. The reality is that there will be a series of increasingly extreme weather conditions. One day, unfortunately, the hurricanes that currently head over to America will be crossing Europe and perhaps affecting us as well. This is the reality and it must be faced.
We in Fine Gael believe we must play our part. The removal of all excise duties on biofuels produced from renewable energy crops is crucial. This will drive down costs and entice more players into the marketplace. We urgently need establishment grants for producer groups, comprising up to 50% of the costs of setting up, subject to a maximum of €300,000 per group.
A public competition for the establishment and operation of a number of biofuel processing plants, strategically located in a selected number of areas, should be put in place. Capital start-up grants for these processing plants should be given initially to enable them to become established and begin viable operations. Greater links are needed with international biofuel processors and fuel suppliers and the relevant Departments, especially the Departments of Transport and Agriculture and Food, must facilitate the promotion of such an industry in Ireland. We believe a market must be created for biofuels, but production cannot flourish if there is no market for what is being produced. Fine Gael says clearly that we must legislate for all motor fuels to be included in a blend of fuel from renewable sources.
All petrol sold at filling stations will include a 5% bioethanol mix and all diesels contain a 2% biodiesel mix. This will not necessitate the conversion of standard motor engines and will represent a good start to reducing emissions from cars. It will provide an immediate market for farmers to sell energy crops. As the benefits become clearer, motorists may move to convert their engines to allow for greater use of biofuel, thus reducing emissions further. We want an eco-friendly economically sensible approach to vehicle registration tax. To do this we will establish a system of energy efficiency labelling for vehicles and reward those that get a higher rating with a reduced rate of VRT. Similarly, vehicles with a lower rate of efficiency will be penalised with a higher rate of VRT. We cannot allow a situation to evolve, as it has in the United States, where more people drive gas-guzzling, road-hogging SUVs, squeezing out smaller, smarter and more efficient vehicles in the process.
There must, too, be a much greater debate about jobs. The Minister is entering a very sensitive and important period in terms of allocations as regards emissions trading before Christmas. It is a critical time for this country, for jobs, the cement industry and all those industries that have been mentioned. It is essential to have a proper and full debate and that the Minister makes the right decision. We must change. We must keep the jobs as well, however, and the right balance must be struck. Part of that debate will take place tonight, hopefully, and at our committee meeting in the near future. We cannot stick our heads in the sand any longer and pretend it is not going to happen. It is happening all around us now. We must be practical, realistic and sensible in the choices we make. Fine Gael fully supports the aspirations in this Bill and we await the Minister’s response.
Ms O. Mitchell: I have no problem and am delighted to support the thrust of the motion from the Green Party because I believe its intention is to act as a wake-up call for all of us to the reality of climate change. I had not realised quite how important it was until I heard the contributions from the Fianna Fáil backbenchers. Deputy Kelly believes, I understand, that no country should take any action until forced into it, kicking and screaming, by the European Community. We will be pulled, kicking and screaming, because the economic impact, if not the environmental impact, will be felt forcefully and painfully by all of the Fianna Fáil backbenchers if they do not wake up to the reality of change and what is needed.
As the Fine Gael spokesperson on transport I want to concentrate in particular on the transport impact on energy use in the couple of minutes available. Transport is the largest user of energy in this country and this trend is set to grow. Car ownership continues to grow and more significantly our car usage is among the highest in the world, despite our tiny country. We drive more kilometres per capita than the British, the Germans and incredibly, the Americans, despite the fact we are not slow to criticise the US’s level of commitment to Kyoto and climate change measures. We are really not in a position to criticise the Americans at all.
We publicly committed ourselves to limiting emission increases to 13% of the 1990 level. We are already at twice that level and by 2012 it will be three times if we do not take action immediately. Yet there is no sign of any real commitment to take action. I wonder why that is. There may be people who do not accept that global warming is a threat to our planet. There may be those who will not accept that the world’s supply of fossil fuels is diminishing and that we have probably already reached peak production levels. In any event, we are on a downward curve. They are going to disappear very soon. There may be people who do not want to accept the volatility of oil supply, the impact this will have in the future and the impact that even remote disasters have on the certainty of our oil supply. There may even be those who do not accept the inexorable upward trend in the price of oil and the impact this will have, not just on our local economy, but on civilisation. If so these are people in absolute denial in the face of all evidence to the contrary. They are people with their heads in the sand and who want to keep them there, probably for vested interests, to prevent the exploration of avenues for alternative sources of fuel and energy.
Unfortunately some of those people are still in positions of power in some of the big energy using countries around the world. However, Ireland is not among those countries. We accept the reality of climate change, notwithstanding the remarks made earlier for political reasons. We know the climate is changing as a result of fossil fuels being used. All of us accept the economic argument that oil is going to get dearer and that supplies will become less certain. We cannot continue to depend on the supply of oil, so why are we not making changes? We pay lip-service to developing alternative energies, but progress always falls way behind the pace of increasing energy usage. Transport is a big energy user and there are now 500,000 more cars on the road than there were ten years ago. How can we even begin to deny that such an increase will have an impact on climate change? This increase is due to the lack of public transport. My colleague has gone through a number of Fine Gael suggestions that try to effect a switch to alternative energy sources. It is undeniable that buses are a part of the solution. Plain, sexy unpopular buses could contribute an enormous amount to reducing emissions.
Ms C. Murphy: When this Bill was introduced by the Green Party, it was correctly described as a positive Bill. It is timely and welcome. If we are to change attitudes, we need to change the decision making culture. The Bill seeks to do that by a targeted and co-ordinated approach. The national climate change target plan called for in the legislation is needed if we are to see results. We need to change the laissez faire attitude to decision making and that requires a hands-on approach. Planning our towns and cities should be deliberate and must be integrated. For too long, those with financial interests have been setting the agenda. The result is regional imbalance and traffic chaos. We are now facing fines for not meeting our targets on climate change.
Transport planning is needed for every major residential, commercial and industrial development. Such plans should have a public transport element. Planning should be about reducing our need to travel, designing and locating our communal spaces, such as schools and recreational facilities, in such a way as to make it possible to access them by foot. That will not occur unless we provide safe walking and cycling routes. Too often, such facilities are not in the heart of a community but on its periphery, due to what is known as hope value in unzoned land. This adds to the need for a vehicle to access essential services. Initiatives such as safe routes to school have a demonstrated value in traffic reduction and these initiatives should be a given. Congestion around schools and the need to introduce exercise into the daily routine for our children are obvious reasons for accelerating the delivery of such schemes.
In many communities, one cannot go to a bottle bank without a car, which is quite ironic. How environmentally friendly is such an approach? There is not one comprehensive recycling facility in my constituency. Local authorities are shying away from providing comprehensive recycling facilities owing to costs. While the capital costs are funded by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the running costs must be borne by the council. A change is needed.
We need to arrive at a situation where we have genuine land use and transport planning to deal with traffic congestion. In the week when Operation Freeflow began, it seemed free flow was facilitated by holding back traffic on the county side of the M50. There is no doubt that traffic jams this week are longer at that side.
For those of us living close to the N4, the concern is great in 2005 but we are worried it will get worse in 2006. The word “Adamstown” conjures up the background sounds in the film “Jaws” when the shark is about to bite its prey. The communities in that area expect to be bitten by this development. The expectation is that this massive new town will add significantly to the problems. It is supposed to be planned in such a way that services will be delivered in conjunction with new dwellings. Quality bus corridors are included in the plans, but will there be buses to run on them? The train service to be provided terminates at Heuston station, but the interconnector linking Heuston station to the docklands will not be available for ten years while a three-mile tunnel is being constructed. The Kildare route project will double the lines and will be completed by 2010. This will increase the number of commuters who have perfected the 100 yard dash between the train station and the bus and Luas stops. While all these projects are welcome, they are taking far too long and they need to be integrated.
Creating a crisis seems to be a uniquely Irish way of doing things. We create the crisis and come to a dramatic solution such as that used to clear smog from Dublin. It was only when the problem presented itself at the hospital gates that the issue was tackled. The decision was a good one, but the problem should have been anticipated. Short-term thinking may have been necessary in times of economic bankruptcy. We can now afford to take the long view. We have the resources to plan properly if the political will exists. Some Fianna Fáil backbenchers referred to a doomsday scenario where industry would close down. They should take a look at the energy efficiency of Intel and HP. We can do better but to do so, we must do things differently. That means a change in culture.
Dr. Cowley: There is no getting away from the fact that global warming is a reality. We had better face up to it now because if we do not, we will jeopardise the planet that is entrusted to us. The scientific evidence exists, despite the doubting Thomases and those with agendas that would have us believe otherwise.
The failure of the Government to implement the national development plan and the national spatial strategy has contributed to our problems with gaseous emissions. High density urban living produces high levels of pollution, including traffic pollution, noise pollution, air pollution, water pollution, domestic waste, industrial pollution, river pollution and so on. This is due to unbalanced regional development. I ask the Government to consider making up the capital envelope for the Border, midlands and west region. The underspend in transport alone was €200 million, while more than €3 billion was underspent in the region in total.
There is no public transport system in rural Ireland. A bus may pass twice or three times a day, but that does not constitute a proper transport system. In Dublin, there are 600,000 private cars which travel at an average of 8 mph. Emissions depend to a great extent on fuel consumption. A car travelling 15 miles to a provincial town at 50 mph produces far fewer emissions than a car in Dublin travelling at 8 mph. Idling cars use up fuel and increase emissions. We must get back to balanced regional development which will make a major difference. Rural dwellings are surrounded by hedges, reducing emissions in the same way that forests soak up emissions. In urban areas, increased concrete spread has made the situation even worse.
The Government should support Knock Airport with the €50 million that is required for the next two years. It would mean less distance for people to travel as it is adjacent to 13 counties. It is not too late to put in the capital budget required to make up the deficit before the problem increases in the cities and the towns. Dublin Airport is facing increased congestion and another terminal will only make things worse.
The evidence shows that most of the warming of the last 50 years is due to human activities. Temperature increases will cause the polar ice caps to melt, which will increase water levels, causing extreme weather events. If carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and water vapour increase, they will trap heat from the sun and act like a pane of glass in a greenhouse. These gases will ensure that temperatures close to the Earth’s surface are much warmer. In France, 14,000 died in the heatwave in 2003. Everyone now agrees that human activities are responsible for global warming. We must ensure that major players of the future, Brazil, China and India, are brought into the equation.
Ultimately, it is up to us. However, it has been extremely remiss of the Government to bury its head in the sand like an ostrich and to pretend this is something that does not concern it and that does not require urgent attention. It has not carried out its responsibilities and duties. It was elected by the Dáil to act on behalf of current and future generations.
Mr. Connolly: I welcome the publication of this Bill as the first constructive proposal to achieve a graduated reduction in domestic greenhouse gas emissions, with a view to fulfilling our climate change target obligations. Global warming is not a distant problem waiting to appear, or a hypothetical trouble for which we should not prepare. The world is already changing with deadly speed. Every time one burns coal, oil or gas, one sends carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide that we emit traps enough heat to create a new planet. Ominously, each development will, in turn, trigger more global warming. For instance, as the Siberian permafrost melts, it releases enormous quantities of methane. Last winter, the gas bubbled up so quickly in some places that the bogs did not freeze, even in the coldest weather. Methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide.
Meanwhile, as the soil heats up and decay is accelerated, that decay releases enough carbon to offset all the energy saving changes that Ireland has made over the past decade. It has been estimated that the soil exhales large quantities of carbon dioxide, thus accelerating global warming at an approximate rate of 2 million tonnes of carbon per year. In addition, the reductions in plant growth during the recent summers mean that fewer trees and plants are available to soak up the carbon in the atmosphere. Icebergs, which reflect the sun’s rays back into space are melting and the blue sea water absorbs the heat, again increasing the warming effect. Last year, Europe’s glaciers lost 10% of their mass and harvest growth was reduced by an average of one third.
In a recent report, Impacts of Europe’s Changing Climate, the European Environment Agency states that fewer than 50 years remain to act against the threat posed by global warming. It attributed most of the warming observed over the past 50 years to human activities. Up to now, human beings have increased the Earth’s temperature by one degree Fahrenheit. Unless we do everything possible as soon as possible to shift from fossil fuel usage, scientists have stated that we will warm the planet by a further five degrees by the end of the century.
The EU states that the world should act to try to prevent temperatures from rising by more than two degrees Celsius above their 1990 levels, which it regards as the highest sustainable level. The EU estimates that on present trends, this target is likely to be exceeded by 2050. We must get our act together in respect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. We simply cannot assume that somehow, the laws of physics and chemistry do not apply to us. Ongoing research has demonstrated that hurricanes and typhoons are 50% stronger and last 60% longer than they did a generation ago. We see the results regularly on our television screens.
In the past week, we have learned that the EU will miss its greenhouse gas emission targets by quite a wide margin. The 15 long-standing member states of the EU, including Ireland, are likely to cut emissions to just 2.5% below 1990 levels, thus falling well short of the target cut of 8%. As was mentioned earlier, growth in the transport sector is partly to blame, as increased air travel has offset gains made elsewhere. Unfortunately, emissions in the EU, which is at the heart of the Kyoto Protocol process, have risen since 2000. The most dramatic gains in terms of emissions reduction have been made by reducing methane emissions from waste tips and by improved industrial efficiency. However, it is most disappointing that the share of renewable sources of electricity has increased by only 0.5% since 1990.
Renewable sources such as wind power are increasingly seen as the key to any low-carbon economy. I agree with the Bill’s proposal for a national plan to achieve the targets in reduced emissions. Neither the national climate change strategy launched in 2000 nor the EU emissions trading directive appear to be achieving their aims. Incentives must be created for our industries to operate in an environmentally-friendly, manner with light usage of carbon dioxide and methane. Energy industries must also invest in new technologies that will move us, by mid-century, to an economic structure that is light on carbon emissions and heavy on carbon sequestration.
Mr. Crowe: On my way to the House, I mentioned to someone that I would speak on the issue of global warming. That person’s attitude was that we could benefit from some global warming. However, that is a simplistic way to look at the issue as is stating that it is too important an issue to be left to tree huggers. This concerns changing people’s attitudes about their responsibilities. It also concerns the responsibilities of companies, industry and governments. I welcome this debate and I support the Bill because it would provide some accountability as far as the issue of climate change is concerned.
This concerns big issues like the future of the planet and our future direction. To put it in perspective, while many of us can appreciate the consequences of climate change, others would prefer if the climate was a couple of degrees warmer, or if we had less rain. However, this has adverse effects in other parts of the world. For those who are old enough to remember the Live Aid concert, the consequences of climate change are real and affect people today. It is worth examining the case of the Sahel region of Africa. From 1950 onwards, rainfall began to decline dramatically. Since 1970, half the region has been in severe drought. All Members remember the horrific images of suffering that were beamed into our living rooms, as millions of people starved to death. Everyone remembers the Live Aid concert and I am sure many Members contributed to it. I watched an interview with Bob Geldof last night in which he spoke about what remains to be done, by both individuals and, in particular, by the wealthiest countries in the world.
This is not an academic discussion and does not concern events in the distant future. It concerns what is happening at present. While the outline I provided may be depressing, examining the Government’s record in respect of climate change and its responsibility under the Kyoto Protocol is even more so. According to consultants employed by the Government, the State will face possible fines of up to €118 million for its failure to meet its Kyoto targets. Rather than having the overburdened PAYE worker fork out yet again for the Government’s incompetence, why can this money not be recouped now by introducing a taxation policy that punishes those responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, namely, big industry in the main? One gets a clue as to the likelihood of this happening when one considers the Government’s reaction to the news that Ireland still has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions. With a straight face and without a hint of irony, the Government laid the blame at the public’s feet. We were told that individuals must become more environmentally-conscious. Everyone agrees with that. However, I suggest that the Government should look to its sponsors in big business for a solution to this issue. Should big business issues take precedence over the deaths of millions in Africa?
I urge Members to support this Bill tonight. I do not believe the PAYE worker or ordinary taxpayers should bear the brunt of it. Transport policy must begin to take account of the environment. In this respect, the most practical step is to provide an efficient and comprehensive public transport system. The total failure of this year’s national car-free day is an indication of the degree of the public’s faith in public transport. This problem will be worsened, not solved, by privatisation. There must be a comprehensive shake-up of building procedure. Developers must be encouraged to introduce buildings that are far more energy efficient. However, this will not work if they can simply pass the penalty on to the purchaser. Developers have become phenomenally wealthy over the last decade and it would be a pity if the introduction of an environmentally-friendly policy became another excuse for them to increase prices and profits. This should not be permitted.
On a related matter, any tax on carbon fuels should not affect the disadvantaged in our society. World events have already pushed fuel prices through the roof and there has been no corresponding increase in fuel allowance. In the event of a fossil fuel tax, it would be necessary to substantially increase the fuel allowance and to greatly extend eligibility for it. I support the Bill, which concerns the future of the planet, drought, climate change and some rich countries buying emissions credits from others. I do not recognise the morality in buying emissions credits, nor do I understand how countries can stick their chests out and say they are living up to their agreements by buying credits from poorer countries. I welcome this debate and urge people to live up to their responsibilities. Big businesses and governments, particularly governments that have so far failed to meet the targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol, have major responsibilities to meet.
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. B. O’Keeffe): The Bill seeks to place an obligation on the Government to reduce its emissions to up to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 and up to 80% by 2050. These are huge reductions in the context of Ireland’s current emissions of 25% above 1990 values. My colleagues have explained the implications of these reductions for Ireland.
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: The Government has made it very clear that there are real reasons of principle and practicality for objecting to this Bill. The objection in principle relates to enshrining in legislation targets that properly belong in the arena of Government policy. The practical objection is that there is no firm basis for the targets. The figures used are not legally binding on any other country and even if they were adopted by international agreement, there would be in-built flexibility to accommodate countries in different states of economic development and industrial capacity.
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: This practical reason for opposing the Bill has been well exemplified by my colleagues on the Government benches. As speakers have pointed out, this Bill does not contain any information on how Ireland would achieve such reductions. The Green Party, as proposer of the Bill, has not spelt out the measures necessary to achieve these targets. The party and its colleagues in Opposition have proposed a variety of measures, some of which seem to have been borrowed from the Government’s climate change strategy and others which, while worthy, would achieve nowhere near enough emissions reductions to reach the targets contained in this Bill. The reality is that the reductions would be achieved by doing untold damage to the economy——
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: ——from agriculture and food processing to pharmaceuticals and semi-conductor manufacture. Deputy Boyle would hate to see all the pharmaceutical industries in Ringaskiddy in his constituency being affected.
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: The Green Party may have a principled opposition to dirty industry but Irish industry is already regulated to the highest standards by the Environmental Protection Agency and many of the firms in these industries are already reducing their emissions through the EU emissions trading scheme. This Bill would destroy Irish industry——
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: ——by imposing on it targets that are unrealistic and unachievable. It would mean the closure of major companies such as Intel and Aughinish Alumina and the decline of our pharmaceutical sector and cement industry.
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: Opposition Deputies have spoken about the potential impact climate change is having and will have. It is accepted, and scientific research has confirmed, that climate change will impact on Ireland. The adoption by Ireland of overly ambitious targets to reduce emissions will not solve that problem on its own, however. Targets need to be agreed and adopted internationally——
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: ——and it is only in the international forum that countries acting together can begin to bring climate change under control. Ireland’s climate change policy is situated squarely within the existing international climate change framework.
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: It is committed to fulfilling its targets under the Kyoto Protocol and is committed to working with its international partners to build an international framework to succeed the protocol. Ireland is addressing its Kyoto commitment through the national climate change strategy, through emissions trading for industry and through the use of the flexible mechanisms——
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: The Minister, Deputy Roche, spoke about some of the achievements in Ireland’s climate change policies and some of the areas that have potential for the future. This is the Government’s approach. It is a sensible approach grounded in the economic realities and constraints that Ireland faces.
There is nothing in this Bill that makes me or the Government confident that its proposers are aware of its economic implications and the dangers it would present for Irish industry. It is strange that the Green Party Members may well believe everybody in the country should cycle to work and have their overcoats on in the living room. If that is the policy Fine Gael and Labour are now espousing——
Mr. B. O’Keeffe: Deputy Crowe does not seem to be aware that big businesses have been made fully responsible for achieving their share of the necessary reductions in emissions. The Minister explained quite clearly last night that every single firm that is a major emitter of carbon dioxide is now required, by law, to participate in the EU emissions trading scheme. If they do not achieve the necessary reductions, they, rather than the taxpayer, must pay.
I will talk about transport because the transport sector, at 31%, accounts for the largest share of energy consumption and also contributes to emissions, global warming, acid rain and respiratory diseases, thus putting pressure on our health care service. It contributes to almost 20% of carbon dioxide emissions and at the very least contributes to climate change, rising sea levels and increased flooding in Ireland. At EU level, through the Kyoto Protocol, we must meet our climate change targets. Adopting the Green Party Bill will ensure that this happens.
We need to start giving people real transport choices. We spend four times as much on roads as we do on public transport and this trend needs to be reversed. In my constituency, for example, people working outside the city centre in areas such as Clondalkin and Lucan have no choice but to drive to work, thus contributing to global warming. We need real solutions involving real bus and rail investment rather than the fantasy lines on a map that are evident in the Government’s Transport 21 proposals.
In providing public transport solutions, we need to consider providing our energy locally in so far as is possible. The Government’s spending four times more on roads than on public transport has resulted in circumstances in which 90% of our energy needs are derived from imported fossil fuels. We are wholly unprepared for the imminent peak in global oil production, which other Deputies have mentioned, and the commitments the international community has made on climate change. Both of these global issues will require us to scale back our use of oil and its derivatives by almost 2% in each of the next 40 years. We must start living more sustainably.
With oil production peaking and the attendant price hikes and shortages that are inevitable, the only way to provide a clean and secure transport solution for both urban and rural areas is to invest in transport run on locally grown fuels. That will provide jobs. Our oil should be coming from Carlow and Kilkenny, as Councillor Mary White has said, not from Kuwait. We can provide jobs and steady farm incomes in this way.
I listened to and watched the debate on the monitor. Speaking from the Government benches, as I am at present, I feel like a Luddite. The Government has displayed a Luddite mentality by bringing up the old chestnuts about farming jobs and industry being destroyed. By what would they be destroyed? They will be destroyed by not responding early to the coming energy crisis. Those who do not respond early are betraying farming communities and their constituents. They are removing future jobs and making it more difficult to adapt to the lower energy consumption future to which we all must adapt.
There is no point saying it will be too difficult and will have this and that effect. As Deputy Murphy and my party colleagues have said, jobs have been created by multinational companies being energy efficient. That is the way of the future. We must provide incentives. During this debate Members on the Government benches have shown they are nothing but opportunistic, political parasites——
Mr. Gogarty: ——built on a web of untruths or, at least, a collective incompetence of staggering proportions. There has been much hot air throughout this debate but it has been coming from that side of the House.
The debate has shown that Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats have no clothes on in terms of the issues of climate change and energy security. We need greater debate. It is a pity all the members of the media are not watching this debate because we must fight for this on the airwaves, not just in the Dáil Chamber. The Government has no clothes on and is talking through its collective posterior. Much hot air is being created and it is coming from the wrong end. People are sick and tired of the S-H-1-T on climate change coming from the Government benches.
Has the Minister tabled an amendment that will take on board some of the proposals or will the Government simply vote it down, saying blah, blah, blah about farm incomes and industry? The reality, as Deputy Sargent will explain, is that a proper transport solution must follow the ethos of this Bill and farm incomes will, in future, have to take cognisance of climate change. We are the only people who appear to be doing anything about protecting farm jobs and incomes. The message from this House tonight is that Fianna Fáil has no clothes. It is the party that is destroying agriculture. I put it to the party that it must do something about it.
An Ceann Comhairle: Before calling Deputy Gormley, I note there are a number of rulings by my predecessors that members of the Government sit to the left of the Chair and members of the Opposition sit to the right of the Chair.
Mr. Gormley: I have listened with disappointment to the arguments from the Government benches. I did not have high expectations but I expected a greater understanding of the problems associated with global warming. I also expected greater sophistication. Talking about overcoats at this stage is beneath the Minister.
Mr. Gormley: ——in human history is the challenge of global warming. If this problem is not tackled, there will be catastrophic sea rises and huge increases in the intensity of storms, and people will not have insurance. I discovered this when I attended a conference in Berlin 11 years ago as Lord Mayor of Dublin. There is no insurance for storm damage, which is a serious problem. Species will disappear, as will countries, and there will be many more ecological refugees. We will also see the disappearance of our economy. The Minister talks about reality, but that will be the reality.
What is the Minister, Deputy Roche’s, response to this? He was on the radio this morning talking about the problem of free newspapers. That is what concerns the Minister. It is time the Minister had a reality check. What planet is the Minister, Deputy Roche, on? It certainly is not planet Earth. If it were, he would be trying to save the planet. The Government has not been blessed with good environment Ministers. Former environment Minister, Deputy Cullen, and the current Minister, Deputy Roche, have managed to make the other former Minister, Deputy Noel Dempsey, look good.
The Minister’s job is to try to convey the seriousness of this problem to the electorate and, second, to embrace positive solutions. This Bill is about reality and my colleague, Deputy Eamon Ryan, has put forward many positive solutions in the area of energy, but they have been ignored by the Government. It is often said in a capitalist society that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Likewise, there is no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to ecology. Decisions will have to be made. Otherwise, the consequences for this and future generations will be severe.
I remind the Minister of what was said by the Irish committee on climate change. It estimates that there will be a rise in sea levels of approximately two millimetres per year. Dr. John Sweeney, a member of the climate change committee who will address the civic forum next week, has told us climate change will mean that homes in Dublin will have to be approximately four metres, that is, 12 feet, above sea level if they are to be safe. Does the Minister know how many homes in Dublin are four metres above sea level? He should visit Ringsend, Sandymount, Ballsbridge and Donnybrook in my constituency. Some of the homes in these areas are beside the River Dodder or the River Liffey and along the sea front. Many of them are below sea level so we will see the Taoiseach standing in his wellingtons again.
Many of my constituents are extremely vulnerable. If that is true for my area, it is certainly true of Deputy Boyle’s constituency in Cork and the constituency of the Minister of State. People are vulnerable. That is the reality of climate change. We have a difficult job communicating that reality. As I told our recent press conference, trying to let people know about this phenomenon is difficult because CO2 is an odourless gas. We must make this a tangible concept, and the only way to do that is to let people know that their activities and use of energy is contributing to the storms we now see, which are becoming more frequent.
I have asked the Government repeatedly for assistance to deal with the problem of climate change and to provide more money for flood protection measures, but nothing has been forthcoming. There is a symbolic wall in Ringsend but that is all. It has become a feature of the Government that it sets up committees and then ignores their advice. The committee on climate change has stated that there should be no building within 100 metres of soft shorelines and no reclamation of estuary lands and that there should be a cost-benefit analysis of hard engineering solutions.
Mr. Gormley: Why does the Minister of State ignore the committee’s advice? The Minister of State has not calculated, in talking about waste management, the CO2 emissions from these waste plants, another example of a lack of joined-up thinking. These are not calculated, and we will therefore go way above our commitments to the Kyoto Agreement. In talking about the reclamation of estuary lands, the Minister of State should tell that to his builder friends in the tent in Galway. What will they say, as land reclamation is big business?
We should examine hard engineering solutions carefully. People may be told that a wall will be built, for example, but according to the Minister of State’s committee this approach will not work. Although Fianna Fáil speaks of madness, the real madness is on its side of the House. I am disappointed by the lack of response from Fianna Fáil’s coalition partners, the Progressive Democrats. Where are they? Do they have any solutions or responses on the issue of climate change?
Mr. Gormley: The problem is that the Progressive Democrats cannot see a way out of this. The party’s economic model cannot respond to this. It is neo-liberal economics that is giving rise to this serious problem. Ultimately we must look at the growth paradigm to see if it is the best way forward. We must alter our way of thinking if we are to deal with this serious problem.
The magnitude of the problem has been explained. Reductions of between 60% and 80% are required. This is a massive task for the global community. We must sign up to this legislation. We are seeking a consensual report but we have been rebuffed. I am very disappointed but my party will keep trying because what the Green Party is saying will ultimately be expected, and the Government’s statements will be looked on by later generations with astonishment.
Mr. Sargent: A Cheann Comhairle, go raibh maith agat as seans a labhairt ar an mBille tábhachtach seo. Ar dtús, ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil leis an Teachta Eamon Ryan, urlabhraí fuinnimh, agus leis an Teachta Cuffe, urlabhraí taistil, a chur tús leis an mBille seo, Climate Change Targets Bill 2005.
The chief scientific adviser in the UK, as has already been stated by others, has contended that climate change is a more serious threat than international terrorism. I ask the Minister of State to take on board this particular scientific view and recognise that the response to climate change needs a cross-departmental strategy. We have had from the Government the usual pigeon-holing of the issue as a matter which applies only to the Department of the Environment and Local Government. We can see from this party’s spokespersons, from Deputy Boyle on finance, Deputy Gormley on foreign affairs, Deputy Gogarty on education and myself on agriculture and food, that this issue requires a cross-departmental approach. This has not been forthcoming from the Government.
What is evident is a failure in word and deed to respond to the challenges facing this country and generations to come. The Government does not have a strategy after 2012, and it talks of Kyoto but is waiting until other groups decide what to do. The Government might then at least verbally indicate that it will consent to that agreement. I was astonished to hear the Minister of State contend that the Government will not support this Bill because it is legislation. What about the Waste Management (Amendment) Bill 2003 and other legislation which have set down measures put forward as Government policy? There is no basis to argue that this cannot be advanced through legislation.
The Swedish Government has done exactly what this party is proposing, and that country has a very successful economy with viable social protection. Government officials have spoken of child care, and Sweden is considered the place to go for this and a place to learn about the issue. The European Parliament has agreed a post-2012 strategy, and only a fortnight ago it agreed by an overwhelming majority to adopt a number of policy recommendations. This is in view of the conference that has been discussed, the 11th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under way in Montreal.
I will not list all the recommendations being put forward, but among them is the reduction of emissions by 30% by 2020 and between 60% and 80% reduction by 2050. This is the exact goal which the Minister of State is attempting to rubbish. The proposal to extend the scope of the buildings directive and updating the biofuels directive may hurt the Minister of State’s friends in the Galway tent. The Minister of State is apparently unaware of these measures and does not care about them.
I wonder who the Minister of State expects to pick up the tab for this problem. A newspaper headline has explained that there will be a €600 million bill to face the taxpayers for what will be the Government’s inaction on climate change. Does the Government expect the taxpayer simply to turn over and pay this because the Government has decided there is no other option? Another report states that Dublin City Council will spend €150 million on flood prevention. That is only the city, and this amount can be multiplied for the rest of the country. Who does the Minister of State expect to pay for this? Will the Government put its hand in its pocket or will it expect the taxpayer to do so? The taxpayer certainly wishes to know the answer to the question.
Who will explain the issue of international problems coming about as a result of climate change? We in this country must take responsibility for this, as we have added to the problems. Another newspaper article details a looming water crisis as Himalayan glaciers melt. I went on a charity walk in the Andes, 500m high, where glaciers there have been melting at a rate detrimental to countries and cities along the coast, from Lima to Valparaíso and other parts of Chile, to Peru, Ecuador and Argentina. People in those regions face only 25 more years of fresh water. How will this affect agriculture and people’s daily needs? This is not about food, but water.
The irresponsibility of this Government has been shown in stark relief. In spite of feigned concern and crocodile tears, as well as the Minister speaking of the sentiments being correct in the proposed legislation, what the Government is doing is exacerbating the emissions problem. It is breaking agreements relating to the Kyoto Protocol and will punish the taxpayer for this inaction. It is also protecting the polluters and people building houses currently at such a low standard that people will be sentenced to fuel poverty in the years ahead. The Government is soft-pedalling to favour the climate chaos villains, those who benefit from not paying their dues on the pollution issue.
The Government is refusing to give leadership on the matter. Opportunities are being devised in other countries for research and development in areas of energy conservation, renewable energy and public transport initiatives. These countries, including Germany, Sweden, Finland and the US, will benefit. The Minister of State does not want to know what these countries are doing and the Government is smug in its aura of Celtic tiger self-satisfaction. It thinks everybody else is out of step.
Although they may not say so, the reality is that even the largest corporate companies are addressing the issue, with one oil company proclaiming that it is “beyond petroleum”. The companies are thinking about an era after oil, with climate change being dealt with through innovation. The Minister should get on board this particular initiative. Unless a ceiling of 550 parts per million of CO2 equivalent and a plan of an 80% reduction in emissions is agreed, how can this Government tell China, for example, to respect limits? How can it tell the UK not to go down the nuclear power road? If the Minister of State turns up on Monday night at the Mansion House for the civic climate change forum he will hear some reality.
This Bill is the key to unlocking many opportunities for enterprise in terms of energy conservation, for farming in terms of biomass, wind energy and other renewable energy, and for good planning in terms of zero emission housing, making public transport viable and reducing travel needs. These are all what the Government is not doing. Most of all, the Bill states we must plan if our children are to survive in the future. Those who reject the Bill — I am looking at the Minister of State, Deputy Batt O’Keeffe — will have to live with their consciences.
Mr. Sargent: I will finish my sentence. What we have opposite is a huddle of gangsters spending taxpayers’ money in a carbon casino, plotting the most conniving scams to dodge even the woefully inadequate Kyoto targets. The Minister of State should seize the opportunity presented by this Bill and at least support the concept of climate change targets. Molaim an Bille don Teach.
|Allen, Bernard.||Boyle, Dan.|
|Breen, James.||Breen, Pat.|
|Broughan, Thomas P.||Bruton, Richard.|
|Connaughton, Paul.||Connolly, Paudge.|
|Costello, Joe.||Cowley, Jerry.|
|Crawford, Seymour.||Crowe, Seán.|
|Cuffe, Ciarán.||Deenihan, Jimmy.|
|Durkan, Bernard J.||Gogarty, Paul.|
|Gormley, John.||Hayes, Tom.|
|Healy, Seamus.||Higgins, Joe.|
|Higgins, Michael D.||Kehoe, Paul.|
|Lynch, Kathleen.||McCormack, Pádraic.|
|McGinley, Dinny.||McGrath, Finian.|
|McHugh, Paddy.||Mitchell, Olivia.|
|Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.||Murphy, Catherine.|
|Murphy, Gerard.||Naughten, Denis.|
|Neville, Dan.||Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.|
|Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.||O’Dowd, Fergus.|
|O’Shea, Brian.||O’Sullivan, Jan.|
|Pattison, Seamus.||Penrose, Willie.|
|Perry, John.||Ring, Michael.|
|Ryan, Eamon.||Ryan, Seán.|
|Sargent, Trevor.||Sherlock, Joe.|
|Shortall, Róisín.||Stanton, David.|
|Timmins, Billy.||Upton, Mary.|
|Andrews, Barry.||Ardagh, Seán.|
|Brady, Johnny.||Brady, Martin.|
|Brennan, Seamus.||Browne, John.|
|Callanan, Joe.||Callely, Ivor.|
|Carey, Pat.||Carty, John.|
|Cassidy, Donie.||Collins, Michael.|
|Coughlan, Mary.||Cowen, Brian.|
|Cregan, John.||Cullen, Martin.|
|Curran, John.||Davern, Noel.|
|de Valera, Síle.||Dempsey, Tony.|
|Dennehy, John.||Ellis, John.|
|Finneran, Michael.||Fitzpatrick, Dermot.|
|Fleming, Seán.||Gallagher, Pat The Cope.|
|Hanafin, Mary.||Haughey, Seán.|
|Hoctor, Máire.||Jacob, Joe.|
|Keaveney, Cecilia.||Kelleher, Billy.|
|Kelly, Peter.||Killeen, Tony.|
|Kirk, Seamus.||Kitt, Tom.|
|Lenihan, Brian.||Lenihan, Conor.|
|McDowell, Michael.||McEllistrim, Thomas.|
|McGuinness, John.||Moloney, John.|
|Moynihan, Donal.||Moynihan, Michael.|
|Mulcahy, Michael.||Nolan, M. J.|
|Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.||O’Connor, Charlie.|
|O’Donoghue, John.||O’Donovan, Denis.|
|O’Keeffe, Batt.||O’Keeffe, Ned.|
|Parlon, Tom.||Power, Peter.|
|Roche, Dick.||Sexton, Mae.|
|Smith, Brendan.||Smith, Michael.|
|Treacy, Noel.||Wallace, Dan.|
|Wallace, Mary.||Walsh, Joe.|
|Wilkinson, Ollie.||Woods, Michael.|
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