Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
31. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if an issue raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) regarding the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020 will receive a response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9077/21]
35. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a commitment to reduce polluting emissions by an average of 7% a year and by 51% in total by 2030 and a commitment to ban the importation of fracked gas and ban liquefied natural gas, LNG, terminals in Ireland will be included in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020 in line with the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9184/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 35 together.
This Government is committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, equivalent to a 51% reduction over the decade and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. A key aspect of delivering our climate objectives will be enacting the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill. This Bill will provide a strengthened governance framework, including five-year carbon budgets, to achieve the objective of a climate neutral economy by 2050 at the latest.
I welcome the extensive pre-legislative scrutiny report on the Bill, published by the Joint Committee on Climate Action on 18 December. I am currently finalising amendments to the draft Bill on foot of the report and its recommendations, and will bring it to Government as soon as possible for approval to publish it and initiate the legislative process in the Oireachtas.
A statutory ban on fracking in Ireland is already established under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Act 2017, which prohibits the exploration for and extraction of onshore petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing. Additionally, in line with the Programme for Government, my Department is no longer accepting new applications for exploration licences for natural gas or oil. I plan to include provisions putting this commitment on a statutory basis as part of the forthcoming Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill.
The Programme for Government recognises that as Ireland moves towards carbon neutrality, it does not make sense to develop LNG terminals that import fracked gas and commits to developing a policy statement to establish that approach. My Department is in the process of developing the policy statement, which includes consideration of any necessary legal and regulatory provisions. This includes detailed examination of the European energy and environmental frameworks, in which our national laws operate, to ensure the policy statement will be legally robust. Once finalised, I intend to bring the policy statement to Government for approval.