Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Examination of the Third Report of the Citizens' Assembly (Resumed)
In total, they have been successful. The government has met the first and second and probably the third budget, but it will not meet the fourth and fifth budgets, unless it makes some very big changes for which we must press very hard. It has been spectacularly more successful in electricity generation, but that was necessary because one cannot do one thing without the other. There is no point in having electric cars if they are using fossil fuel energy. One has to do it in order to facilitate this change.
It is arguable that the fact that we are flat-lining in general and not going up is a success. It has not been successful enough, but it has been a success. The fact that there are budgets means, for example, that this very week - yesterday - we have had the Department of Transport producing its first aviation report and accepted in it the restrictions the climate change committee placed on it. Previously, there would have been equivocation. We are being successful, but I return to the point I made to Senator Marshall that it is all about urgency and the comment of his neighbour when talking about campaigners. We ought to be very worried about how slow all of this has been, how much has to be done and how we all have to do it. We have to say to people that the one argument that is unacceptable is that one cannot do it because somebody else will take my place. If we do that and are in the "After you, Claude" world, it will not solve the problem.