Thursday, 24 January 2019
Climate Action: Statements
Okay. Senator Boyhan raised the issue of oversight of the plan. It is crucial. It will not work unless we can be seen to be driving it forward. I very much agree with that. I will seek to implement it.
We will have to agree to differ on the licence. I do not see that banning exploration will suddenly get farmers or the transport industry to change their behaviours. I have to be conscious of energy security. We will go back to 95% dependence on imported gas when Corrib runs out. It is better if we can make the transition we have to make from fossil fuels with some level of security of supply. I do not agree we should take a very hard line in the hope that even though it does not impact in any way our carbon emissions today, it will in some way bring about the transformation. We have to develop the policies that change the route we are on. The phasing out of our reliance on fossil fuels will follow that as we change behaviours.
There are substantial subsidies for renewables at the moment but they are built into the public service obligation. They do not come up as cash subsidies in the Exchequer. Under the various refit schemes, we have 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being taken out of the system over the projected 2030 horizon. They are built into the price consumers pay. One of the advantages we have seen is that the price of renewables has come down quite rapidly as we integrate them more into the system. Consumers may be paying in the short term but they are seeing a more robust model emerging in the longer term so it is a good deal for consumers.
I will leave it at that.