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Waving not Drowning - the Friends of the Earth blog

4 tests for the revised climate Bill

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

Weak Climate Bill 1 - Stop Climate Chaos coalition slams Climate Bill as too weak to work.
Stop Climate Chaos coalition slams Climate Bill as too weak to work.

A year ago, Friends of the Earth said the Government's draft Climate Bill was "like a car without an engine" and Stop Climate Chaos called it simply "too weak to work".
But the public hearings held by the Oireachtas Joint Committee last summer were very inclusive and thorough. Their subsequent report represents common ground across political parties and among a wide range of stakeholders on the contents of the Bill. Secondly, the process of developing a revised Heads of Bill is a test of the political reforms initiated by this Government to improve the democratic process by increasing the legislative role played by Oireachtas Committees. The courses of action highlighted in the report point to areas where significant improvements can be made to the Heads of Bill. While they are not as strong as we in would have liked, we believe they are the minimum that need to be reflected in the Bill in order to ensure its effectiveness. Specifically:

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechange

A tribute to Nelson Mandela by the Director of Friends of the Earth South Africa, Bobby Peek

Posted on December 06, 2013 by Friends of the Earth

President Mandela at Engen Oil Refinery Protest 1995 - Photo David Wiley  - President Mandela addressing protesters outside the Engen Oil Refinery in Durban in 1995
President Mandela addressing protesters outside the Engen Oil Refinery in Durban in 1995


A guest blog, by Bobby Peek, Director of Groundwork (Friends of the Earth South Africa). This is his reflection on the death of the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

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The environmental justice movement, and indeed my own environmental justice activism is grounded by the experience of working with Madiba to ensure that South Africans achieve the promise of a life that was enshrined by our Constitution, a life where people live in relations of solidarity and equity with each other and in non-degrading and positive relationships with their environments.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechange

What has the IPCC ever done for you?

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Oisín Coghlan

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

On Friday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will publish the first part of it's new assessment report on climate science. The last one, in 2007, won it the Nobel Peace Prize. 

You can join me and Prof John Sweeney for a "first look" at the report and what it means at a Stop Climate Chaos event in the Science Gallery at lunchtime on Friday.

Here's a quick overview of why I think it matters. Come along on Friday for a fuller picture, disucssion and a chance to power the whole event uisng Gavin Harte's bicycle generator.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechange

Congratulations to Donal O'Kelly on his Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award

Posted on August 15, 2013 by Oisín Coghlan

Donal O'Kelly Fringe First

Playwright Donal O'Kelly has won a prestigious Fringe First Award for his one-man show Fionnuala, a spine-tingling, stomach-churning insight into the mind of a Shell spin-doctor on the Corrib gas project in Mayo. The show is playing to rave reviews in Edinburgh where it got 4 stars from the Financial Times and a "Must See" accolade from The Stage. Donal has said he hopes the play might encourage a whistleblower to expose the dark reality of Shell's presence in Erris. Then just last Sunday the Observer rang a full-page investigative piece on allegations that Shell bought €35,000 worth of alcohol for the Gardai in Belmullet. Friends of the Earth's supports the call, made by Afri and others, for an independent investigation into the incident.

Permanent link | Categories: energy

Analysis of the Oireachtas climate Bill hearings

Posted on July 22, 2013 by Oisín Coghlan

Umbrella Day 2008 Irish Times photo - The photo from the front page of the Irish Times on 16th June 2008 depicting the Stop Climate Chaos Umbrella Action Day
The photo from the front page of the Irish Times on 16th June 2008 depicting the Stop Climate Chaos Umbrella Action Day

This is the unedited version of my opinion piece published in the Irish Times on Monday 15th July.

As the country experienced its most intense heatwave so far this century, the Oireachtas environment committee has been holding intensive hearings on the Government's proposed climate change Bill.

Despite the weather, and the fractious nature of the debate on the last Government’s climate Bill, nobody got hot under the collar in Committee Room 4. Instead, it’s been a positive, serious and constructive engagement, modelled on the health committee hearings on X legislation earlier in the year.

The Committee has had in-depth discussions with an array of stakeholders from the business, farming and environmental sectors as well as overseas aid agencies and economic and legal experts.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechange

We stand with the Philipines

Posted on December 07, 2012 by Young Friends of the Earth

As the COP18 climate talks continue the Super Typhoon Bopha which hit the Philippines yesterday shows the devastating impacts of climate change and the necessity for concrete outcomes from the talks. The death toll has climbed to more than 270 people with over 170,000 people fleeing their homes. This is the 16th extreme weather event to hit the Philippines this year and this typhoon is yet another example of how the Global South are bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate change.

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Oisín's opening statement at Teagasc Great Debate on Climate Change and Food Security

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Oisín Coghlan

green_cow - Irish Agriculture claims to be the among the greenest in the world
Irish Agriculture claims to be the among the greenest in the world

The real link between food security and climate change

There is a concerted effort to promote a narrative that increasing Irish food production is a vital contribution to global food security and, therefore, action to reduce climate-changing emissions in Ireland should put no limit on the expansion of Irish agri-industry.

In reality, climate change is one of the biggest threats to food security, not action to contain climate change. Other main causes of food insecurity are conflict, natural disasters, poverty, access to agricultural inputs and good seeds for small farmers.

There is no shortage of food globally. The problem is not production, it's distribution. The 1 billion people who go hungry every day could be fed with just 3% of current world food supply.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangefoodandfarming

A letter to Joe Costello when I thought he was going to the Rio Summit, or a couple of things Labour could do if they wanted to show they take sustainability seriously

Posted on June 13, 2012 by Oisín Coghlan

Publication cover - Letter to Joe Costello on Rio+20 June 2012 - Cover image for Letter to Joe Costello on Rio+20 June 2012
Cover image for Letter to Joe Costello on Rio+20 June 2012

The Irish Times reported on Monday that Joe Costello, Minster for Development and Trade, would be joining Minister Phil Hogan at the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

We drafted a letter to him suggesting a couple of things he could usefully do to ensure Rio has a progressice impact in Ireland.

On Wednesday we discovered he wasn't going to Rio, the Irish Times was mistaken.

It's a pity really. Many countries are sending their prime minister, but not Ireland. Others are sending their deputy prime minister, but not Ireland. Last week the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste "launched" a blueprint for "Our Sustainable Future" but couldn't manage a word between them for reporters or the the public.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeenergytransportwastewaterbiodiversityfoodandfarming

Why I'm looking forward to Rio+40

Posted on June 12, 2012 by Young Friends of the Earth

In 1992, when the nations of the world came together at the Rio Earth Summit, the closest thing to pollution I was thinking about was my dirty nappy. Now, as Rio+20 gets underway, I am a graduate about to head out into the world as a community worker. During my journey from cot to climate activism a lot has changed in the world. Yet the principles of the 1992 Rio Declaration stand as a radical and inspirational avowal from 172 nations-representing 98% of the world's population- that they no longer wanted to build a world on unsustainability, injustice and inequity.

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Taylor taste justice, but West Africa continues to be denied it

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Molly Walsh

Taylor tastes justice, but West Africa continues to be denied it
As the EU bows down to big business and continues to exploit the Global South in search of cheap raw materials and energy, what impact will Charles Taylor's conviction really have on a region ravaged by natural resource conflict?

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