Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
-----through action, which is what is most important in this regard. We are taking measures in the areas of energy, transport, agriculture and heating. Taking energy as an example, we want to increase the amount of renewable energy we produce in Ireland from 30% to 70%. According to the European Commission our CO2levels went down by almost 7% last year; we were in the top three countries in terms of CO2 emissions falling.
That was almost entirely down to the fact that Moneypoint was offline for a period. It shows what can be done. We can get coal out of the system and expand renewables. That is what we need to do with energy.
On transport in particular, we need to expand our electric vehicle network and move more delivery vans and delivery vehicles to the electric system. We are asking the ESB and its balance sheet to do an awful lot. We are asking this State company to deliver much of what we need to do with renewables and almost all of what we need to do with electrical vehicle charging points. Asking one company with a limited balance sheet to do another large project must be borne in mind if people really want to pursue that alternative.
In agriculture, we want to focus on a new Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, which encourages diversification and rewards farmers for engaging in sustainable and green food production. This will be a significant change but one which is necessary if we are going to do what we want to do concerning climate action in the period ahead.
I have not seen any detailed proposal on a special designation around Galway. I would welcome one from the Deputy because I have not had a chance to consider it. It is perhaps something we can work into the all-of-Government climate action plan which the Minister, Deputy Bruton, is finalising.
If we are to do what I believe is necessary to meet our obligations on climate change, as well as to engage in climate action to the extent that is necessary, it will not be about designating any one city or county. It will have to be done in every town, village, rural area and parish. Most importantly, it will be about changing the way every home and individual lives their lives.