Climate change is the biggest single challenge facing humanity. As Minister for Energy, I published a 2015 White Paper, which mapped out Ireland’s medium-term energy policy and saw an Irish Government commit to a zero-carbon future for the first time ever.

We’re also the first Irish Government to pass legislation that commits Ireland, in law, to meeting EU targets for reducing carbon emissions and adopting renewable energy. Now we need to substantially increase investment in renewables, energy efficiency, and helping communities who suffer the impact of climate change – here and abroad.

This Government has introduced a range of programmes to encourage the development of renewable energy and help families, communities and public authorities to improve their energy efficiency. And we’ve committed €430 million to capital investment in flood defences – more than has been spent over the last 20 hears.

But I don’t believe governments and international institutions have all the answers. My White Paper places a huge emphasis on citizen and community involvement in renewables and energy efficiency, and in making decisions about energy policy and infrastructure.

We all have a huge part to play in beating climate change, and new energy and information technologies are giving all of us far more control over our energy use and conservation.


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