Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank Deputy Crowe and we are very much committed to leading that sustainable future. It is in the climate plan announced last week and we can see the direction of travel for Ireland. I have been involved with the research agenda for a number of years in this country and I know the potential in our research community to drive successful projects and research while tunnelling into options that can help us create jobs and reduce our carbon emissions.
The Deputy mentioned a fund and I mentioned the regional enterprise plans earlier. The Deputy mentioned the Future Mobility hub, which is a very exciting project. I visited it quite recently, meeting the team involved, and I am glad one of them is a Meath man. He is Mr. Russell Vickers, who was in school with me. I assure the Deputy that even when he was four or five, he was destined to provide solutions on an engineering and science front. It is very exciting work that puts Ireland at the cutting edge of technology. We want to be part of that. I was in the Land Rover and understand what it can do. I saw the technology in the boot and much work went into that. The centre will attract investment, stakeholders and significant players from all over the world to come to Shannon and carry out work and research on that testbed. We are leading that work and I am glad the regional enterprise fund has assisted through the work of Enterprise Ireland. It has assisted many others as well, and it is something we must do.
I mentioned the Fit for 55 package earlier, which consists of a set of interconnected proposals that all drive to the same goal of ensuring a green transition by 2030. The elements of this package that impact aviation are as follows: a tax on aviation kerosene to be implemented incrementally over a ten-year period from 2023 to 2033 to match the equivalent minimum rate for motor fuel; blending mandates for sustainable aviation fuel starting at 2% by volume from 2025, increasing to 20% by 2035 and 63% by 2050, with a sub-mandate for synthetic fuels from 2030; a change to the emission trading scheme to phase out the free allowances afforded to aviation by 2027 and to reduce the overall scheme cap on a linear basis by 4.2% per annum; and targets for supply of fixed electrical ground power at aircraft stands for stationary aircraft.
It is important to emphasise that these are proposed measures and it remains to be seen what political agreement will ultimately emerge. The potential for agreement is there and by working together, all of us can drive forward this change.