Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Climate Change Advisory Council
28. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if it will be ensured that future appointees to the Climate Change Advisory Council will have relevant public health expertise; his views on whether climate change is the greatest threat to global health this century (details supplied) and that recovery from Covid-19 must build upon the current focus on public health to ensure Ireland and those supported by Ireland through Irish Aid are resilient to future health issues and take advantage of the opportunities for improved health afforded by tackling climate change in an holistic and health inclusive way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9026/21]
Section 8 of the Climate and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 established the Climate Change Advisory Council on a statutory basis. In view of the statutory five-year term of the first Council expiring, I recently appointed the following new members to the Climate Change Advisory Council:
- Ms. Marie Donnelly, Chairperson;
- Professor John FitzGerald, Ordinary Member;
- Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, Ordinary Member; and
- Professor Peter Thorne, Ordinary Member.
I will formally appoint the remaining Advisory Council members, to give effect to the provisions of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021, on completion of the Bill’s passage through the Oireachtas. In making appointments to the Advisory Council, I will take into account the statutory requirements in the Act and provisions in the Bill, that is, to ensure appointments have a broad range of expertise and competences required to carry out current Advisory Council functions and proposed new functions.
The Government is committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade) and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. The Climate and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 sets the framework for how we will make fundamental changes to address the climate challenge. The Bill will ensure delivery of successive Climate Action Plans and Long-Term Climate Action Strategies, supported by a system of carbon budgeting and sectoral targets with appropriate oversight by Government, the Oireachtas, and a strengthened Climate Change Advisory Council.
I am currently leading the preparation of the next Climate Action Plan, which will set out actions that must be taken across every economic sector to ensure we deliver on our climate commitments. Preparation involves engagement and input from all relevant Government Departments and sectors, including considerations that will improve the health and well-being of society. It is crucial that as we rebuild and recover from COVID-19 that we break the link between fossil fuels and economic progress, balancing considerations of fairness, cost effectiveness and solidarity and ensuring that no one is left behind.
Ireland has placed climate action among the four major policy priorities in its international development policy A Better World. Ireland focuses most of its international development cooperation and climate action in Least Developed Countries to assist and support those most impacted and exposed to threats of climate change. A key lesson learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic is that in order for it be overcome, we need to deal with it in a collaborative and coordinated way internationally, and improve our understanding of the impact of recovery measures across multiple policy dimensions. The Programme for Government reaffirms the commitment in A Better Worldto double the overall percentage of our development assistance that counts as climate finance. Increasing our climate finance will support a global green recovery, and in doing so, support a healthier and cleaner environment and society.