EPA FRACKING STUDY HAS MAJOR FLAWS

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Aedín McLoughlin hands Submission to Hildegarde Naughten TD, chairperson of Oireachtas committee

GEAI submission to Oireachtas Committee.

GEAI has made a major submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Climate Action and Communications on the EPA-commissioned Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction (UGEE) Joint Research Programme.  This Study had as its major research question: “Can UGEE be carried out while protecting the environment and human health?”

Conclusions do not reflect findings

We have discovered that the overall summary report did not reflect the findings of the five research reports, which more correctly should have highlighted that:

  • UGEE (fracking) operations globally have major impacts on the environment and on human health, but as human health was not included in the Terms of Reference for the study, the impact of fracking on human health was not included in the study.
  • There are several unknowns around the process of fracking globally and it is not possible to guarantee that hydraulic fracturing can be carried out without contamination of groundwater and air.
  • The hydrogeological profile of the Northwest Carboniferous Basin (mainly Leitrim and Fermanagh) is heavily faulted with deep-seated aquifers and shallow shales, which makes it unsuitable for fracking.

Summary Submission

Full Submission

Climate Change – Threat or Opportunity?

Climate Change – a historical landmark?

Climate change is undeniably one of the hottest topics of today. It is widely seen as a major threat to the future of humanity and the planet. However, if we look at it from a different perspective, it can also be a historical landmark. Climate change presents an opportunity for societies to re-invent themselves.

The Paris agreement – a moment of unprecedented consensus
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The Paris agreement was ratified globally on 4th November 2016.

The Paris agreement achieved something remarkable. It was the first time that more than 190 countries agreed to a common framework. This is the acknowledgment of climate change as a global issue, to a point where the political representatives of almost all the greenhouse gas emitters in the world pledged to reduce their emissions. The most important thing that one can take from it is that this agreement opens the door to a future of total collaboration between the nations, in order to tackle such an important issue as climate change. This can be the opportunity for humanity to get together and engage in a dialogue that can take us in the right direction, a direction of re-invention towards a more sustainable future.

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy – Former president of the United States

Living examples of sustainability?

The effectiveness of the Paris Agreement pledges may be arguable, and the ambitions are not very high but, still, this agreement is something unprecedented. Even despite the fact that some of the bigger nations might feel tempted to withdraw from the agreement, if we look at the smaller developing nations, we can see that they have a lot of potential of becoming living examples of sustainability. As John F. Kennedy (JFK), once said: “The humblest nation of the world, when clad in an armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error.”

For the developed nations, the transition to renewable energies may seem more difficult because these countries are already endowed with a whole set of infrastructures that rely on fossil fuels, whereas in most developing countries, the infrastructure is still not there. This means that sustainable infrastructures can be built from scratch and that an efficient renewable energy grid could attend to the needs of a growing population.

“Cape of Good Hope”

During the 15th century Portugal, “brought new worlds to the world”, by exploring parts of the globe that were, at that point, still unexplored by the Europeans. The Portuguese navigators were seeking for the route to India but faced numerous challenges throughout the way. Their biggest challenge was a rocky headland, situated on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. They used to call it the “Cape of Storms”, for the many storms the navigators had to face when crossing this cape. After Bartolomeu Dias crossed this cape for the first time, the king of Portugal, D. João II, decided to rename the cape as “The cape of good hope”because it symbolized a new hope for the much-desired discovery of the route to India.

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The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa

At the present moment, climate change may appear to be a “cape of storms” for us, but, if the nations collaborate and the right efforts are made, it has the potential to become the new “cape of good hope”. It can help us make our way to a more peaceful, prosperous, sustainable and united world.

This piece could not be finished without another JFK quotation:

“The problems of this world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics, where horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”

Alex

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