Deputy Patrick Costello speaks on the Climate Bill and its measures to tackle climate justice and poverty.
The urgency of climate change cannot be understated with any seriousness or reasonableness. As such, the importance and urgency of this legislation equally cannot reasonably or seriously be understated. This important legislation provides a starting point for systemic change and is a key step towards setting an agenda for ensuring our planet’s future, our children’s future and our shared future.
That word, “shared”, really must be our priority and focus as we go forward. Climate change does not affect everyone equally. Poorer, low-income communities and countries will be the first to be impacted and will have the least resources to cope. Through this legislation, we can identify ways to improve how our current energy poverty schemes work and ways to target those most in need. This is a vital step in addressing that poverty while at the same time addressing climate change. Through this legislation we can, and must, improve the resilience of communities and ensure that those who are most at risk from adverse weather events get the supports they need to build that resilience. That is in this legislation. It is something we can do – improving communities while addressing climate change. We can and we must ensure that our climate action plans are poverty-proofed so that, as we go forward, the equality we build into this legislation can influence our actions so that we can address both poverty and climate change at the same time. These are essential elements for a just transition. These are things that are open to us under this legislation. They are to be commended and are the way forward for us. Through this legislation we can and must build both a low-carbon future and a more equal society. As I said, the urgency of climate change cannot, with any reasonableness, be understated and the importance and urgency of this Bill equally cannot be understated.