Oisín Coghlan has been Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland since 2005. Oisín heads the panel of representatives of the Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership and sits on the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). read more
10 days ago we asked for your help to get a Bill to ban fracking over its first big hurdle in the Dáil. You responded like never before, raising money for a legal opinion on the Bill in less than 24 hours. Then 2,500 of you wrote to your local TDs urging them to #BackTheBill.
The Taoiseach was addressing the Seanad today and a couple of Senators were interested in raising climate change with him. Here's what I would have said. --
Your government has adopted a National Policy Position on Climate Action, underpinned by the Climate Act, that defines Ireland's transition objective for 2050 as an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between energy, housing and transport, and carbon neutrality for agriculture and land use, in line with the lower end of the EU's emissions goal for 2050. And your Government's White Paper on Energy has a target of reducing energy emissions by 80-95% by 2050, in line with the higher end of the EU's goal, and proclaims a vision of a "carbon-free" future for Ireland.
On his re-election as Taoiseach, Enda Kenny announced he was restructuring Ministerial Departments to better reflect the new Government's priorities. With that, he promptly abolished the Department of the Environment and scattered its functions across three Departments.
We have very little time to get this decision reversed. If this goes ahead, the words ‘environment’ and ‘heritage’ would be dropped from the titles of any Minister or Department, and Ireland would become the only EU member state without a Minister for the Environment.
We had real success last year in getting the Government to recognize the role of communities in the transition to a zero-carbon energy system. The new national energy policy, the White Paper, launched in December is very strong on a commitment to energy citizens and communities.
The election is in the closing stretch. The final leaders' debate is tonight. Will they discuss climate change? Probably not, but even if they do it'll be short and superficial at best. The reality, however, is that whoever forms the next Government will find climate change high on the policy agenda because of the Paris Agreement, looming EU targets and competing interest groups at home.
So how much thought have the parties actually given it? Below you can see and read for yourself.
We now have 6 parties who have confirmed they will have a representative there: Fine Gael (Senator Cáit Keane), Sinn Fein (Lynn Boylan MEP), AAA-PBP (Richard Boyd Barrett TD), Green Party (Eamon Ryan). Fianna Fail and Labour have yet to name their representative.
Whenever candidates call to the door over the next three weeks, say you’re concerned about climate change. Tell them now by email.
You can mention the flooding, fracking, or Ireland doing its fair share, on the doorstep if you want but, actually, even just saying you’re concerned means the TDs in the next Dáil will be that bit more likely to listen to us.