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Will the Energy White Paper live up to the spirit of Paris?

Posted by Oisín Coghlan on December 16, 2015 at 08:16 AM

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We thought we'd let you know our take on the Paris Agreement.


Here's our press release
, including an inititial assessment of what the Paris deal means for Ireland. And here's a round-up of assessments by campaigners, journalists and academics.

Paris in a nutshell:

  • If you judge Paris by what’s required by science , or justice, it’s hard not to find it wanting. An ambition to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C is a welcome, but there is no real plan to make this a reality.
  • If you judge Paris by politics , it looks a lot better because in Paris the politics changed. Enough has now been done by enough people in enough places to demonstrate that a climate safe and climate just world is possible.
  • For 195 countries to agree on anything is remarkable. For them to agree to profoundly transform their economies in just a few decades is astonishing. The deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history and points to a future of clean, community-owned energy.

Today comes the first test of Ireland's determination to play it's part, as the Taoiseach put it in Paris, with the launch of the new White Paper on Energy.

Friends of the Earth will be analysing the White Paper based on the following 6 questions:

  1. Is it visionary ? – Does it set out a goal of ‘fossil fuel free’ by 2050 and work backwards with a plan to get us there? Transforming from a greater than 90% reliance on fossil fuels to using renewable energy is no short order. Will it say 'low carbon' or 'no carbon', and will it tell us how 'low' is 'low'?
  2. Does it put energy efficiency first , and have a plan to improve the efficiency of our buildings? The average home in Ireland is rated D1 (Building Energy Rating), and spends €3,000 per year. Will it improve that to B1 by 2030 and reduce householders bills?
  3. Does it have a plan to phase out fossil fuels ? Will Ireland phase out the annual subsidies to fossil fuels, and a make a commitment not to extend the life of Moneypoint, or the PSO support for Peat? Will we ban fracking?
  4. Does it plan to Ramp up Renewables ? And finally support solar energy? Will there be a target for 100% renewable heat and electricity? (we think it should be 2040)
  5. Will Citizens and Communities be supported to own and co-own the renewable energy that will power our lives?
  6. Will it ensure we travel less and travel smarter ? With plans to incentivise electric vehicles and public transport. Will it ensure we don't fuel our cars with biofuels at the expense of cutting down rainforests in South East Asia.

Less than a week after the Climate Action Bill was signed in to law, the ultimate question is will the White Paper drive the transition to a carbon-free future?

We'll find out at 10.30 this morning: the launch will be live-streamed here .

In hope,

Oisin, Kate, Heather, Nicola and Ciara
Friends of the Earth.

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