Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 26 April 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
New Retrofitting Plan and the Built Environment: Discussion
It is music to my ears to hear Dr. Kinnane say we should start with the not-so-deep measures, such as heat controls, draught-stopping and all of those things that are very impactful. Under the retrofitting plan, we would still have 1.5 million homes untouched. These are certainly low-hanging fruit from that point of view.
On the issue of management of the whole process, we have a circular economy Bill, on which we have made a report. One of the central things we recommended was that the circular economy should be reported in tandem with the climate action plan and that should be overseen by the Taoiseach. It is not that we have not considered the leadership issue of circularity, which goes well beyond just the inventory of carbon emissions and embraces the embodied issue. We have made that recommendation.
I have two short questions. Forgive me if I have missed it but how do we get public procurement to move more rapidly in this direction? I was surprised to hear the EU’s taxonomy is only for private investment. Surely we should start by making sure what we control ourselves complies with taxonomies and life cycle thinking and so on. It is certainly not my impression it does at the moment. It would be interesting to hear the European experience and how public procurement has changed to reflect this.
The other question is also looking at the European experience.
How can we create a market for these more carbon-sensitive approaches, either recovered material from demolition or elsewhere or for products with a lower carbon content? Is it through the carbon pricing, the carbon tax, if you like? Is that the common method or are there other methods to stimulate the market for these better products from a life cycle point of view?