Written Answers - Ministerial Travel.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 691 No. 4

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  145.  Deputy Emmet Stagg  Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley   the amount of money set aside or spent on the purchase of carbon offsets for flights by Ministers or other persons on official business; the amount per flight which is intended to be used to purchase carbon offsets; the persons from whom carbon offsets are to be purchased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35804/09]

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  In response to the Programme for Government and National Climate Change Strategy commitments, my Department developed the principles of a scheme to offset greenhouse gas emissions from official air travel. The scheme operates on an annual basis and commenced in 2009. It will retrospectively account for all official air travel since the Government came into office in June 2007. All Departments have been notified of the key elements of the scheme and they will be required each year to calculate their carbon dioxide emissions and associated offsetting costs based on total air kilometres travelled.

The scheme applies to all Government Departments and Offices, and covers all flights by Ministers and officials on both commercial airlines and Government passenger aircraft. It also applies to bodies under the aegis of Departments and it is a matter for individual Departments to decide which bodies are to be included. The price of offsetting a tonne of carbon in the period 14 June 2007 to 31 December 2008 has been set at €13. My Department will continue to provide a carbon price each year to reflect the average price in the voluntary offsetting market as the basis for Departments to calculate their offsetting costs. The overall cost of the scheme, estimated at some €420,000 per annum, is modest relative to the benefits likely to accrue.

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) will seek to invest the total offsetting funding in small scale “gold standard” energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Ireland’s priority Overseas Development Aid countries in Africa.

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