Great news! Dáil declares climate emergency

School_Strike_for_Climate_in_Wellington_13.jpg

 Photo: David Tong, via Wikipedia Commons

An astonishing and positive step to fight climate change

GEAI is delighted to share the news that on Thursday, May 9th 2019, the Dáil voted to declare climate and biodiversity emergencyWith almost unanimous cross-party agreement, they also agreed to “accept and endorse” the blueprint for action developed by the cross-party Committee on Climate Action.  

“This is a remarkable development by our Government,” said Aedín McLoughlin, GEAI.  “Ireland is only the second country to declare such an emergency and already, across the world, we are being congratulated on this achievement.  Among the first to congratulate Ireland was famous climate activist Greta Thunberg who also pointed out that Climate Emergency means leaving fossil fuels in the ground! Good Energies Alliance is delighted with this declaration and hopes that future actions by this Government reflect the seriousness of the situation and the necessity by Ireland to show leadership.”

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, supports what is happening in Ireland:

Green Party candidate delighted

“With the major Government parties, the Green Party is fully behind the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee,” said Leslie O’Hora, director of GEAI.  “These include a target for Ireland to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the potential for communities and individuals to sell solar and other renewable energies, reform of the CAP to provide more support for diversification of small farms, a new forestry plan and a huge programme of retrofitting public buildings.  Without doubt, the time for action is now!”

The only reservation on support for the blueprint for Climate Action was from Sinn Féin, who refused to support changes in our carbon taxes regulations.

Let us hope that this declaration is not just another example of empty words by our government, but will result in true leadership by Ireland in the battle against climate change!

Make Ireland’s climate law strong enough to work

Без имени-2The Government’s draft climate law is too weak to deliver the low carbon future it promises. Ireland’s emissions are among the highest in Europe and rising again. Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Ireland to do more to tackle climate change when he said Ireland should “align its climate effort with its admirable engagement on hunger”.

Minister Alan Kelly has told the Dáil he is considering possible amendments to the draft law.

We need to make sure the changes aren’t just window dressing, that they actually make the law stronger, by clearly indicating how much we plan to reduce emissions by 2050, by ensuring that the independence of the Expert Advisory Council is explicitly guaranteed and by committing to climate justice as a guiding principle.

The Minister must also keep his promise to have the Bill through parliament and passed into law before the summer break. It’s almost three months since the draft law was first debated in the Dáil and we’re still waiting for the Government’s proposed changes. Time is ticking and the crucial UN summit in Paris is now less than six months away. Countries like Ireland, with high emissions and higher historical responsibility, have to demonstrate a credible commitment to climate action if we are to build the trust required for a global deal in Paris.

The only thing that has kept the Climate Bill on track to become law at all is the continuous pressure from campaigners like you. We need one last push to make it a climate law we can be proud of. Please sign the petition now and share it with your friends.

Ireland deserves a better Climate Bill

Environmental-Damage-2

Ireland deserves a better Climate Action Bill to play its role in tackling climate change. The current Bill “will fail to deliver the low carbon future it aims to achieve unless critical weaknesses are addressed”, according to an independent report by environmental lawyers Client Earth.

Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) criticised the lack of ambition of the new bill since its publication in January. Now this independent analysis confirms that “the opportunity to lead the way towards a carbon neutral future has been thrown away”, GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin said. “There are no targets for lowering carbon emissions, not even a mention of the mandatory targets set by the EU. Neither is there commitment to contributing to the Global Climate Fund, a shame for Ireland.”

The report was commissioned by the Irish coalition Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) and also compares the Government’s Bill with climate legislation around Europe. The study finds that the lack of 2050 targets for carbon emissions produces critical uncertainty for investors and the status and membership of the Expert Advisory Council undermines its independence. Unless revised at Committee Stage in the Dáil, due this month, the Bill will do little to help Ireland meet its international commitments or move the economy onto a less polluting pathway.

Last September the Taoiseach Enda Kenny talked at the UN Climate Summit about “long terms objectives for 2050 of an 80% reduction across electricity, transport and built environment”. “Where are those targets now?” asks McLoughlin. “This Government  has failed to show commitment, imagination or leadership in the drafting of the Bill.”

Discussion at the Joint Oireachtas Committee: the complete video online

Screenshot from the video youtube

On 10th October, GEAI was received very well by the Joint Oireachtas Committee. An important outcome is that the Committee has agreed to write to the EPA to request that the Steering Group (set up to decide on the Terms of Reference for the more detailed research report on fracking) agrees to include GEAI.Before our presentation, Laura Burke, EPA Director General, made a submission to the Committee.
Representatives of Tamboran, the company given the licensing option for North Leitrim/Fermanagh were invited, but they did not attend, saying there was no point in doing so before 2015.
At the end, an open discussion occured between the GEAI members (Liam Breslin, Dr Aedín McLoughlin and Eddie Mitchell) and the members of the Committee.
This is the complete video of the Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting (online made by The Mr Sir Charles). The GEAI contribution begins at 1:36:00:
(More information in our press release)

Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee

Fracking / Shale Gas Extraction
This submission was sent to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture in June 2012. It gives a brief outline of the main scientific issues associated with shale gas extraction in a non-technical way. It is not comprehensive but is meant to provide a basis for discussion by the Committee. GEAI has asked to attend a meeting of the committee to discuss the issues.

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