The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten is in San Francisco this week for a series of engagements and meetings relating to climate change, digital safety and trade with key business leaders, tech companies and environmental organisations.
Today (Tuesday September 11th) Minister Naughten will meet with senior executives from Facebook and Google where he will raise the issue of age verification on social media sites following the findings of a CyberSafeIreland study which shows that over half of nine-year-olds are using social media, despite age restrictions on many of these platforms.
"I'll be asking Facebook and Google executives when I meet them to outline any new proposals or technical mechanisms that they could apply to their systems that would deal with this problem effectively. We need social media companies to make it significantly more difficult for underage children to set up these accounts in the first instance," stated Minister Naughten before he departed for California.
Minister Naughten will give a keynote address to the Global Climate Action Summit hosted by California's Governor Jerry Brown. The Summit aims to showcase the actions that countries, cities, companies, investors and civil society have taken to reduce their emissions and secure commitments to do more for climate action. Minister Naughten will focus on Ireland's new €500 million Climate Action Fund, the National Development Plan where over €1 in €5 will be spent on climate mitigation and adaptation, and the recent passing of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill.
The Minister will also address an event hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which is a global initiative that encourages the rapid phasing-out of traditional coal power. Ireland demonstrated its support for the transition away from coal power to the international community by joining the Alliance in March of this year.
Minister Naughten began his San Francisco visit last night by attending a World Affairs Council event highlighting "Women's Role in Climate Justice", where former Irish President Mary Robinson discussed her new book entitled "Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future".
"Women are especially vulnerable to climate change as they are often the primary caregivers and the providers of water, fuel and food, yet women are more often than not excluded in conversations surrounding adaptation, climate justice and resilience," stated Minister Naughten.
The Minister will also meet with existing and potential investors to promote Ireland's attractiveness as a location for investment and trade. There are more than 240 companies with Headquarters in the US West Coast that have operations in Ireland, employing over 50,000 people.