Tuesday, 3 July 2018
Establishment of Special Joint Committee on Climate Action: Motion
I thank the Minister for allowing me a moment of his speaking time. As the Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I wish to put on the record of this House how important I view the establishment of this special committee. As one who served on the Special Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, I can attest to the value of such a move. The establishment of this committee will give a focus to the climate change issue that it simply cannot get in the midst of a Department's or a committee's consideration of other matters. To put it very simply; climate change has not got the attention or action it deserves because the Department, and my committee, must consider a whole range of other subjects within our remit. Important matters such as public service broadcasting, the media landscape in general, broadband and a myriad of other issues take up time that we could otherwise devote to climate action. The fact that we are going to miss our 2020 targets by a considerable margin illustrates the point that we have not paid sufficient attention to this issue.
My statement today is not to criticise the Minister, his Department or my committee, rather the contrary, we need to put substantial resources into developing a proper and effective policy on climate change. It is my view that the establishment of this committee to consider the report of the Citizens' Assembly and ancillary matters is a very positive step in developing such a policy in the short term. Having recently spoken to the Taoiseach on the issue I can assure the House of his and Fine Gael's complete support in the work this committee will do.