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"The only option was to put my body in between the diggers and the earth"

Issued in the blog on December 08, 2017 at 17:45:00.

Queer bloc at Ende Gelande Nov 2017

A member of Fossil Free TCD went to the UN climate talks in Bonn last month. This is the first of two reports she wrote for us.
I am crouched behind a damp sand bank and can feel my heartbeat in my ears. People shuffle hurriedly in both directions next to me, careful not to slip into the trench behind. I am too terrified to peer over the bank, in case I come face-to-face with a riot cop, and his shield or baton comes crashing into me. I huddle down smaller. Can they see my rucksack over the edge? Someone grabs by elbow violently and I almost shout out - but it is ok. My affinity group is planning our next move. We turn to the hundreds lining the cusp of the pit above, as high up as House 6 from the base: “Which way?” we whisper-scream up at them. “Go left!”, “Left!”, “No cops left!” they shout back, and we are off. Last chance to go back, but we’re up and over and gone. Police far to the right but they’ll never reach us in time. I am running before I know it, and look back for my “buddy” Emma, who has asthma. Her, Tony, and Frodo are close behind. Of course, as it turned out, none of these were their real names.

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Ladybird Expert series on Climate Change - A Summary

Issued in the blog on December 04, 2017 at 16:55:00.

Notes on: Climate Change, by Tony Juniper and Emily Shuckburgh  

Ladybird Expert series 2017, (52 pages including some illustrations)


Summarised by:

Paul Donnelly, August 2017

Paul was a highly respected, committed member of Dublin Friends of the Earth and suddenly passed away in November 2017. He spent much of his time collating information about climate change in order to make the topic more accessible for people. May he rest in peace.



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Friends of the Earth is "appalled" by latest climate pollution figures from EPA

Issued in news on November 27, 2017 at 14:41:00.

2017-11 EPA website barchart on 2016 emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today released the figures for Ireland's climate-changing pollution in 2016.

They make for grim reading - with emissions up across the board and a 3.5% total increase year-on-year.

Speaking at the EPA event to publich the figures, Dr. Cara Augustenborg, Head of Science and Communications for Friends of the Earth, commented:

"We are appalled by today's EPA figures for Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. Our climate pollution is rising at around 3.5% a year when the Government's own target means they should be coming down by 5% a year.

"Of the handful of EU countries who are going to miss their 2020 climate targets, Ireland is the only Member State whose emissions are still rising.

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A scare in time?

Issued in the blog on November 02, 2017 at 01:30:00.


The scariest thing I saw this Halloween was this new report about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The last time CO2 stayed this high, sea levels were 20 metres higher than they are today.

But there is hope . Research also reported this week concludes "an energy transformation big enough and fast enough to curb global warming remains within reach. Better still, we do not need to wait for new inventions to implement the changes we need; the transformation can happen right now".

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Budget completely fails to deliver Taosieach's "new ambition on climate change"

Issued in news on October 10, 2017 at 23:14:00.

Budget 2018

"If policy reviews and consultations reduced emissions Ireland would be a world leader in climate action."

Friends of the Earth has described the Budget as a "complete failure" on climate change.

Commenting, Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth Director, said

"On his election as Taosieach, Leo Varadkar said he wanted 'a new ambition on climate change' and Minister Naughten indicated the Budget would deliver climate action. Instead we get a drop in the bucket on energy efficiency, a few baubles on electric vehicles and a review of the carbon tax.

"I'm not sure what planet the Government is on, but it doesn't seem to be one where Ireland has signed the Paris Agreement and committed itself to reducing climate pollution by 80%."

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Almost there: 24 hours to save our soils!

Issued in the blog on September 11, 2017 at 02:07:00.

Darina soil2

Since I sent the email below on Thursday, about 1000 people in Ireland have signed the official petition to trigger EU action to protect our soils.

We need about 1000 more to fulfil the Irish quota of the European Citizens' Initiative. And we have until midnight on Tuesday (Brussels time!) to get them.

If you've signed already, thank you. Please do tweet this and share this on Facebook to spread the word.

If you haven't signed yet, your support could tip the balance .

As chef Darina Allen puts it in this video :

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Sign the People 4 Soil Petition by 12 September

Issued in news on September 07, 2017 at 00:35:00.

Darina soil

Complete the form below:

Ireland's Soils are in danger. We rely on soil for healthy food, clean water, and protection from flooding. But we're trashing it like there's no tomorrow. Overuse, harmful pesticides, dodgy industry and excessive development have jeopardised the future of our food, water and health. Incredibly, soils are not protected by law. However, we have a unique chance to change this.

If we can get enough people to sign this European Citizens Initiative - an official EU petition - the European Commission will have to address the call for much needed new rules to protect soil.  Please SIGN, SHARE and become part of the movement to Save Our Soils!

Sign the petition to Save our Soils



  People4Soil petition



Friends of the Earth appeal to Electric Picnic-goers to keep Stradbally clean and bring camping gear home.

Issued in news on September 03, 2017 at 19:18:00.

IMG-20170901-WA0046Friends of the Earth had a strong presence at Electric Picnic for the third year in a row with 150 Green Messengers on hand to divert as much waste as possible from landfills and incinerators into recycling and composting facilities. Their efforts included running a popular Deposit Return scheme with Festival Republic  adding a refundable deposit onto the price each drink that can be redeemed at any one of their three refund points. But the environmental organisation is keen to carry on the momentum of all that good work through Monday as people pack up and make for home.

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Leo urged to ‘Let There Be Light’ from Electric Picnic 2017

Issued in news on September 01, 2017 at 08:08:00.

Let there be light FINAL

Leo signed petition for a fair payment for solar at Electric Picnic last year

With the Government due to publish its new plans for renewable electricity any day now, Friends of the Earth is bringing its “Run On Sun” campaign back to Electric Picnic. Last year, Leo Varadkar was one of 6,000 festival goers who signed a petition for a fair payment for solar electricity. This year, Picnicers will be petitioning Leo to follow through and use his new-found power as Taoiseach to “let there be light”.

Commenting, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan, said:

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The case for residential solar PV - analysis by Joseph Curtin

Issued in publications on August 30, 2017.

Publication cover - The case for residential solar PV - Friends of the Earth - Cover image for The case for residential solar PV - Friends of the Earth

Government renewable energy scheme must include support for household solar power

New research by climate policy expert Joseph Curtin has found that solar panels on homes and businesses can make a significant contribution to Ireland's switch to clean energy. The cost-benefit analysis was commissioned by Friends of the Earth in advance of the Government's new support scheme for renewable electricity, which is due to go to public consultation in the coming days. The study finds that support for solar power on 50,000 homes can be done at a reasonable cost and in a fair way, and addresses a number of concerns about small-scale solar. Friends of the Earth says it means the Taoiseach and the Minister for Environment must keep their promise to support solar power for ordinary citizens not just big business.

Joseph Curtin, the author of the report, said:

"Solar power offers many benefits for citizens, and is a potentially vital component of the flexible and responsive energy system of the future. Our financial modelling suggests that a generation tariff of about 10 cent per kilowatt of electricity would be required to make rooftop Solar PV attractive for householders.

"Electricity bills would be reduced by allowing householders to generate their own electricity, but they must also be able to sell to the grid what they cannot use themselves. To control overall costs to Government, we propose that the scheme is initially capped at 50,000 householders. The scheme we propose would likely be broadly attractive, and not just for the wealthy."

Commenting on the research, Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, said

"The Government has promised to put citizens and communities at the heart of the transition to a clean energy system and this research shows that solar power is the key to unlocking citizen participation.

"A year ago this week Leo Varadkar signed the Friends of the Earth petition for a fair payment for solar power. And Denis Naughten has assured me he wants to see support for rooftop solar.

"This research shows that paying households for the solar electricity they generate can be done at a reasonable cost and in a fair way.

"Now is the opportunity for the Taoiseach and the Minister to deliver. So why the delay in publishing the new support scheme for renewable electricity?

"We're really concerned that some economists with no interest in public participation, and big power companies who want to keep the market to themselves, are telling the Government not to pay households and communities for the electricity they generate. To leave it to the 'big boys' to provide Ireland's renewable energy. We have the seen the limits of that strategy with wind power. We don't want to repeat the same mistake with solar energy.

"We have to hope that politicians will follow the evidence and the public interest not the special pleading of vested interests."

The case for an incentive scheme for rooftop solar PV

Analysis by Joseph Curtin for Friends of the Earth, August 2017

Executive Summary

  1. This paper provides supporting evidence for the introduction of a support scheme for residential solar PV, and addresses arguments that have been put forward against a tariff. Supported by financial modelling, it makes specific design proposals to Government.
  2. Along with commercial and ground-mounted solar, residential rooftop solar PV offers many advantages for the grid, bill-payers and citizens, and enhances social buy-in for decarbonisation.
  3. Our findings suggest that a generation tariff of 10 cent combined with an export tariff of 6 cent would be sufficient to incentivise deployment of rooftop solar, particularly for early adaptors.
  4. If restricted to 50,000 rooftops by 2030, the additional cost to the Public Service Obligation (PSO) would be small relative to its overall size (circa €12.5 million per annum), representing a cost of about €20 t/CO2 abated.
  5. Our proposed design is cost-effective, based on international best practice, and future proofed by offering a marginal incentive for home consumption. Cost effectiveness could be further safeguarded, however, by ongoing monitoring or through a built-in digression mechanism.
  6. Arguments that this scheme could cross subsidise wealthy households lack empirical support. International evidence suggests that poor, average and wealthy households all chose to invest, and evidence form Ireland (from up-take of grants) suggests that the schemes would be attractive to a broad cross section of society.
  7. The net costs and benefits to the overall energy system of domestic generation require future evaluation. Where detailed analysis of these costs and benefits has been undertaken (e.g. the UK) the grid services provided by domestic generations (e.g. peak shaving) are found to be substantial. We recommend further analysis on this point, but that in the interim, unsupported arguments that posit large overall systems costs should be avoided.
  8. Rooftop solar PV, especially combined with battery storage technologies, are potentially disruptive to business models in the energy system. Over the medium to longer term this may necessitate a rethink of how the costs of the energy system are shared between users.
  9. Blocking citizens from generating energy, however, is not the answer. Ireland should be preparing for a flexible modern networked grid of the future, which offers many potential benefits as well as risks that need to be managed.

Download the full paper.


1) Joseph Curtin is Senior Research Fellow with responsibility for climate change policy at the Institute of International and European Affairs, a Research Fellow at University College Cork, and a member of the Climate Change Advisory Council. This analysis has been conducted as an independent researcher.

2) The Government's new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is due for publication by Minister for Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD, in the coming days.

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