Since the 1950’s the scientific community has become increasingly aware of global climate change, and increasingly united in its stating that “these changes are, in a large part, caused by human activities”. The reality of climate change effects everyone on this planet.
Current rates of change would mean a very clear and forced shift in the lifestyles of those who live in developed countries like ours. There is massive risk to human life and to the progress of our nations in the near future.
In the more immediate present, climate change effects the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people in the developing world. But many of our countries have too easily side-lined climate change as something academic and of no relevance to the lives of ordinary people today. This is not the case.
We should be careful today that, while debating this issue, we do not see it as a lull in an exciting budget week. Legislation around climate change is the basis on which we will be judged by future legislators and by future generations.
It is our job in this House and the other place to take care of the future: we are careful every day to look at the effects legislation that makes sense today has on the future. The job of climate change legislation is the other way around. We focus on what the future demands of us, obviously keeping in mind the needs and demands of today. The focus though has got to be what is right for future generations.
With all of this as background, it is a great sign of progress that we debate the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, 2015, today.
“I welcome the new national post code system for Ireland, Eircode, and I am very pleased that the code D6W will be retained for the areas contained in Dublin 6W”, says Fine Gael Senator Cáit Keane.
“Two years ago I made representation through Seanad Éireann that the D6W code be retained and the announcement today that ‘W’ is going to be allowed only for the code ‘D6W’ is a great result. I also congratulate the many the people of D6W who also campaigned on this.
“In the summer of 2015 every address in Ireland will receive its unique Eircode. The Republic of Ireland will be one of the first countries in the world to have a database of unique address identifiers for all properties which will assist citizens, business and public bodies to locate every individual address in the country.
“Each Eircode is comprised of seven characters that are unique to each mailing address. The seven characters are divided into two parts – a routing Key and a unique identifier. It is great that Dublin 6W will get to keep its unique D6W code.”
I welcome the Minister to the House. As was said, we must wake up to the problem. The Minister has been, and has been shown to be, very courageous and wide awake. He went into the Department with his eyes wide open and his actions have demonstrated courage. He could never be accused of not being courageous. He has been a very courageous Minister who took a stand where necessary and on issues where other Governments failed.
Today we are talking about the climate change Bill. Before I became a Senator I looked at things from the outside and had great faith and hope that something would done about climate change, particularly as the Minister at the time was John Gormley. Perhaps he got an anaesthetic and slept during his watch. However, I commend and compliment the current Minister, Deputy Hogan, on his assurances.
I welcome the Minister of State. The Bill will enable Ireland to ratify the 2005 amendment. The previous speaker asked the Minister of State why it took so long; nine years is a long time. Ireland is one of only two EU countries yet to ratify it. However, in 2013 more than 60 countries had ratified the amendment and a total of 96 ratifications are required before it enters into force. I have also read that two thirds of the countries need to be signed up before it becomes effective. So although only two EU countries remain to ratify it, it needs another 36 before it enters into force. I ask the Minister of State to comment on that. Even though only two EU countries remain, will we be waiting for the other 34 non-EU countries before it comes into force in Europe? Continue reading