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Planetary passion versus protecting the national interest. Tuesday at the UN climate talks

Posted on December 09, 2014 by John Sweeney

Evo Morales at COP 20

Tuesday of the second week is when the big guns come to town. The ground having been prepared for them by their officials, the Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers arrive to strut their stuff. Entourages sweep rapidly by the onlookers into various rooms as the multiple strands of the COP begin to either knit together or unravel in disharmony. It is too early yet to say which will be the fate of COP20 but certainly the commencement of the “High Level Ministerial Events” is also designed to inject urgency into the proceedings.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangecopunfccccop20lima

Can youthful idealism help bridge the global trust gap at UN climate talks asks John Sweeney

Posted on December 08, 2014 by John Sweeney

Lima FoE activists COP20 2014-1208

Climatically, Lima is to some extent the southern hemisphere counterpart of San Francisco, though considerably nearer the Equator. Like the Californian Current, the cold Peruvian Current ensures overcast and humid conditions generally prevail and Lima is well noted for its lack of sunshine. When the summer sun is warm enough, however, to burn off the low clouds in the marine layer, quite hot conditions can develop during the middle of the day. Week 2 at COP20 is experiencing just such a spell with temperatures a few kilometres inland rising into the high 20s in this city of 10M people. In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the climate conference, and perhaps focus the minds of delegates on what global warming actually entails, the organisers have sought to minimise air conditioning throughout the venues, many of them prefabs and tented structures. There was thus a certain poignancy to the session on climate change and health where delegates were given advice by the World Health Organisation chairperson as to how to cope with the furnace-like conditions of the room.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeUNFCCCCOPCOP20Lima

Alex White, new energy minister, has a key role now in fight against climate change

Posted on July 11, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan


Congrats to Alex White TD on taking over as Miniser for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. A key Department in the fight against climate change.

Here is the Minister speaking as Labour leader in the Seanad, at the end of a debate on the Climate Protection Bill in October 2007, in response to Minister John Gormley and others.


Senator Dominic Hannigan: Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan I wish to raise a point of order. Reference was made to the Labour Party’s voting record in regard to the Climate Change Targets Bill in November 2005. The record shows clearly that we voted——

Acting Chairman (Labhrás Ó Murchú): Information on Labhrás Ó Murchú Zoom on Labhrás Ó Murchú A point of order can relate only to procedure and cannot respond to the Minister.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangelabourclimate billseanad

Phil's parting shot?

Posted on July 07, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

Phil Hogan and the emus

The Irish Mirror reported on Friday that Minister Hogan's Department had circulated a 54-page list of his achievements and concluded that "the general feeling is that he will not return to this Department either way" after the reshuffle.

The report has now been posted online and carries the very formal title Progress Update on the Programme of Reform from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeHoganclimateclimate billminister

Election Round-up: MEP hustings and ratings. Fracking the locals. And *that* Bill.

Posted on May 07, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

yfoe 2014 ep election

It's election time and there are a number of ways that you can have your say even before polling day on 23rd May.

Young Friends of the Earth are having a hustings with European Parliament candidates in Dublin on Thursday 15th May, at 7pm in The Greenhouse on Andrew Street, D2. More info here.

The Environmental Pillar is having euro-hustings in all three constituencies. In Carrick-on-Shannon this Thursday 8th, in Cork next Tuesday 13th and in Dublin on Friday 16th. You can register here.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeenergy

Climate Bill 2014 - highlights and summary of reaction

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

IMG_4032 Snowmen protest at Custom House, urging Gormley to publish Climate Change Bill

So, the Government has finally published the Heads of its Climate Action Bill.

In a nutshell:
It took two years for them to replublish last year the Fianna Fail / Green Party Bill - with all the targets taken out, and the "independence" of the expert advisory body further weakened. Ignoring the outcome of their own extensive public consultation along the way. And now, a year later, they have strenghtened the expert body but ignored some of the key recommendations of the Oirachtas Committee who carried out extensive stakeholder hearings last year.

Oh, and these are still only the Heads. They have promised to introduce the full Bill in the Dáil before the summer recess.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechange

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.


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

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

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