Wednesday, 11 May 2022
Ceisteanna - Questions
In terms of the climate action delivery board, we now have the Climate Change Advisory Council, which will report annually in respect of the targets Government has set and the targets set under the Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Act. The delivery board will be reporting quarterly. There is no need for it to do the work of the Climate Change Advisory Council in respect of its annual report, which will be the key report in the respect of the delivery of the climate action plan and the targets within the legislation.
I welcome the implementation of low bus fares on public transport. This is a good thing. I admire Deputy Boyd Barrett's capacity to always turn a positive into a negative fairly quickly. By no stretch of the imagination is anybody seeking to suggest that a reduction in fares for people travelling on buses will be used to reduce the pay of bus workers. In particular, bus workers in the public sector will be covered by the normal public service pay frameworks while those in the private sector will be covered by a variety of processes in terms of labour relations mechanisms. There must be further work with private sector operators in respect of low fares and the Minister for Transport is engaging with them in that regard.
I do not have exact timelines but work is advanced in terms of the submission of the territorial plan for just transition. This is important and I am very anxious to get accelerated delivery in terms of just transition more generally, not just the submission to Europe but also the utilisation of our own funding in terms of the commitments that have been made and the targets set for retrofitting, for example. We need to get faster realisation of what has been committed to.
In respect of the matter raised by Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan, I do not believe we should open up bogs again to meet further energy needs. There are immediate issues around energy. We are a large importer of fossil fuels and will continue to be for a number of decades. Gas will be a transitional fuel. However, there is no doubt that the only future is to double down on renewables and to do so as fast as we can. This particularly relates to offshore wind energy. The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, his Department and the Government at Cabinet committee level are endeavouring to drive this as fast as we can in respect of offshore wind energy to reach our 2030 targets and become a net exporter of energy through renewables from 2030 to 2040.