Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Budgetary and Fiscal Implications of Climate Change: Discussion

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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Today's pre-budget hearing deals with climate change issues. Actions to mitigate the causes and impacts of climate change are likely to have a significant budgetary impact on both revenue and expenditure. The purpose of this committee meeting is to discuss the long-term budgetary implications of climate changes measures, including climate change targets and compliance costs, the budgetary impact of measures to introduce carbon taxes, and the long-term changes to yield for the Exchequer arising from climate change measures.

I remind members and witnesses to turn off their mobile phones as they interfere with the sound quality and transmission of the meeting. I welcome Professor John FitzGerald, chair, and Mr. Phillip O'Brien, council secretariat, from the Climate Change Advisory Council, CCAC. I welcomeDr. Kelly de Bruin, research officer, and Dr. John Curtis, associate research professor, from the Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI. I welcome Mr. Frank Maughan, principal officer, Mr. Kevin Brady, principal officer, and Mr James Coade, administrative officer, from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. I thank all of the witnesses for making themselves available for today's meeting.

Before we hear the opening statements by witnesses, I draw their attention to the position on privilege that applies to witnesses. By virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if they are directed by it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. I ask each of the witnesses to make their opening statements, which will be followed by questions and answers. I invite Professor FitzGerald to make his opening statement.