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ACTION: Petition: Reject Shannon LNG's Planning Application

I don’t want more fossil fuels in Ireland and want An Bord Pleanála to reject Shannon LNG’s planning application.

  • In May this year, the Government produced a policy statement which introduces a moratorium on fracked gas imports and the development of polluting Liquefied Natural Gas terminals pending the completion of an energy security review (to be completed over the coming months).
  • Since then the Government has committed to increasing the current objective of 70% renewable electricity on the Irish system by 2030 to ‘up to 80%’ under the new National Development Plan that has just been released. The Government passed a new Climate Act in July which introduces a climate neutrality target for 2050, as well a 51% emissions reduction target by 2030. The Government has also committed to reaching 70% renewable electricity on the Irish system by 2030. The construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure is completely incompatible with these objectives.
  • A year ago Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin produced a letter to their Green Party counterparts which noted "Both of our parties accept that as we move towards carbon neutrality, it does not make sense to build new large scale fossil fuel infrastructure such as liquefied natural gas import terminals".
  • The Government introduced legislation to prevent new licences for oil and gas exploration in Irish waters in July this year. There is already a legislative ban on fracked gas in Ireland since 2017. There is also legislation in place to make the state investment fund pull its money out of fossil fuels.
  • The International Energy Agency in their analysis of a pathway to net zero emissions has concluded that “beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development…Net zero means a huge decline in the use of fossil fuel”.
  • UCC research has shown that as Ireland decarbonises its energy system and phases out fossil fuels, Irish semi-states face significant risks of stranded assets and major economic losses. However, our planning and regulatory system is not properly aligned with our climate obligations
  • At the very least half of all existing gas reserves need to stay in the ground unburned to keep global heating to less than 2C, more if we are serious about the Paris goal of 1.5C. There is just no room for new gas. We need to #KeepItInTheGround.
  • Having banned fracking here to protect our communities from the environmental and health effects, it would be hypocritical in the extreme to start importing fracked gas from under the feet of communities in the US who stood with us while we campaigned for the Irish ban.
  • It makes no environmental or economic sense to sink millions of euro into building import terminals to import liquefied fossil gas (fracked or not) from around the world when we have to use less and less gas in future.


Notes

  • This initiative is supported by several activist groups and originated with Safety Before LNG -safetybeforelng.ie
  • Full information on this case is available on the An Bord Pleanála website here .If you wish to make your own individual submission to An Bord Pleanála, please see An Bord Pleanála’s requirements on their website here and here (note in person or by letter only; ABP fee of €50 per submission)

ACTION: For the Love of ...Solar Schools

Please change the planning exemptions so that schools and community buildings can install solar panels, without the added expense of seeking planning permission.

We love Solar Power! It's clean, free and zero carbon, but in Ireland we have hardly any of it.

And the reason why has nothing to do with how much sun we get! It's because Ireland has unique rules that are designed to make installing solar panels REALLY hard. It is particularly hard for schools.

One of these rules is planning permission.  Schools need planning permission to install even one solar panel.  It's madness, and adds significant cost. 

For years politicians have promised to change this.  They even leaked a story to the papers in August 2020, that they had done it! But they haven't. 

Today, the change is in the hands of Minister Peter Burke. 

Please email your TD's today, and ask them to put pressues on Minister Burke and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage,   and ask him to make good on the promise of many before him, for the Love of Solar. 

ACTION: Make your promise on LNG a policy!

We want to see a robust Government policy statement on Liquefied Natural Gas

On April 28th 2020 both Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin signed a statement saying "Both of our parties accept that as we move towards carbon neutrality, it does not make sense to build new large scale fossil fuel infrastructure such as liquefied natural gas import terminals"

Following this the Programme for Government was agreed, which committed to developing a policy statement to prevent the importation of fracked gas.

But the Government has done nothing to make good on this promise, and the threat is growing every day that the fossil fuel industry will start to build liquified natural gas terminals in Ireland. There are now potentially 5 terminals in the making, and plans to turn Ireland into the gateway location for the transportation of fossil gas though Ireland into the UK and Europe. As a country we were groundbreaking in establishing a ban on fracking in 2017, so to import fracked gas from abroad is tantamount to offshoring the injustice that communities subjected to fracking face. It would also add fuel to the climate crisis.
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Email your Government TD's and Senators today and tell them to Act Now to prevent LNG terminals - floating or fixed - in Ireland. 
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Here Come the Sun - Power to the People

Issued in the blog on March 05, 2019 at 18:01:00.

Petition handover.JPG

A new law to force electricity companies to pay small renewable energy generators for their power was debated in Leinster House this week. 

It's hard to believe, it doesnt happen already, but small renewable energy generators in Ireland give their electricity to the grid for free if they can't use it all on site immediately. 

Kate Ruddock was giving evidence at the Oireachtas Committee meeting along with Paul Kenny from Tipperary Energy Agency, Jim Gannon from SEAI and Michael Manley from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. 

You can watch the debate online here,

or just Kate's speech here

Kate addressing Oireachtas Committee March 2019

"We met Leo Varadkar at Electric Picnic a few years ago. 

Read the full entry »

Transitioning to a Low Carbon Climate Resilient Society

Issued in publications on February 21, 2019.

Publication cover - Transitioning to a Low Carbon Climate Resilient Society - Cover image for Transitioning to a Low Carbon Climate Resilient Society

“Community Energy Revolution"

Irish communities are the strongest drivers of the transition to a zero carbon future. The power of local people has been demonstrated repeatedly and it can be done again – to keep Ireland green for current jobs and future generations. Friends of the Earth, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community have published a "Roadmap for a Community Energy Revolution" in order to galvanise and support local action.

This roadmap underpins political and government initiatives in tackling climate action:

  • For the special all-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action which is now finalising its recommendations on translating the recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly into policy, recommendations;
  • For the Government which is finalising its ‘all of government’ approach;

And has been prepared by

Marie Donnelly, former Director for Renewables, Energy Efficiency and Innovation at DG Energy in the European Commission. Current Board member of Tipperary Energy Agency
Brendan Tuohy, Former Secretary General, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Current member of Dingle Sustainable Energy Community
Oisin Coghlan, Director, Friends of the Earth


Oisin Coghlan, Director or Friends of the Earth commented,

Hundreds of community groups all across Ireland are coming together to take on the challenge of decarbonising their communities. Ireland excels at the community level,- from the GAA to Tidy Towns. Yet, time and again, community energy groups find themselves straining at the leash, often up against the same State-designed barriers to getting their local sustainable energy projects off the ground' and always lacking in sufficient resources to support the huge local voluntary efforts.'.

'The recommendations that will come from this special
Joint Oireachtas Committee offer a huge opportunity to unleash the potential within our communities and enable and facilitate the citizens of Ireland to take action on climate change. There is huge momentum out there. But it requires support for it to be sustainable if it is to begin to address the scale of the challenges.’

‘Minister Bruton is right when he says citizen engagement is essential, but people and communities across Ireland are becoming increasingly frustrated with the narrative that climate action needs to come from them, without any similar commitment to support these local voluntary efforts and also to remove the State-designed barriers that essentially block them from participating in this transition. This is particularly apparent when it comes to local renewable energy generation.’

Friends of the Earth, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community, three independent organisations involved in the community sector and committed to transitioning the community to a low carbon future, have collaborated to prepare a report ‘Transitioning to a Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Society’ available here, which sets out a number of actions to support long term, deep engagement at local community level. It details the actions needed from Government and others to break down the many barriers that currently prevent local action on climate change and recommends:

  • Developing a ‘one-stop-shop’ led by climate change officers in every local authority area to provide advice, technical information and practical support for citizens, communities and businesses on their journey to decarbonisation;
  • Setting up a route to the market for community led renewable energy projects.
  • Introducing a fair payment for microgeneration from all technologies that are exported to the grid.
  • Streamlining the technical aspects of local energy generation (planning, grid connection, balancing, etc.)
  • Ensuring the Climate Action Fund includes local community engagement activities, starting with the next call in 2019.

 

Go to download page »

Friends of the Earth Newsletter, January 2019

Issued in the blog on January 28, 2019 at 17:24:00.

Welcome to our newsletter - catch up on what we've achieved over the past few months thanks to your support, time and donations. See what we're planning next and how you can be involved!

Friends of the Earth Campaigns

Tait House award presentation at St Munchin's College-43

Community Energy & Solar Schools

Congratulations to St Munchin's College in Limerick, our first winners of the Solar Schools competition. A fantastic group of students ready to take on the energy transition in their school!

More winners will be announced very soon - watch this space! This exciting pilot project targeted a number of areas where community energy cooperatives are already in existence. The aim of the project is to support schools and communities to power themselves with free renewable electricity generated right from their roof.

Read the full entry »

Solar Schools Competition 2019

Issued in news on January 16, 2019 at 18:12:00.

FoE RoS logo - FoE on bagelThe 2018/2019 Solar Schools competition is now closed.

Five winning schools will be announced soon. Watch this space! 

The winning schools will get solar panels for their school. They will be able to use free power all day generated directly from their roof, so will really reduce their carbon emissions, and during the weekends and holidays they will be able to sell any power they do not use to our partner 'Community Renewable Energy Supply' (Cres). It's really a win win win for the schools and the climate.  

Sadly, not all schools have this opportunity in Ireland. In fact, selling solar power is not an option for most, as there is no requirement for electricity companies to buy solar power generated at small scales. 

Read the full entry »

Beat the VAT increase on coffee. Plus a new series of Eco Eye starts tonight.

Issued in the blog on January 08, 2019 at 06:42:00.

Eco eye presenters

Happy New Year.

I'm really optimistic we can make a breakthrough this year on climate action (see below for a preview of the possibilities).

But first, a quick life hack for coffee drinkers! It hasn't been such a good New Year for those of us who look forward to a take-away coffee at some stage during the day. The VAT increase in Budget 2019 has added 9 to 18 cent to the price of a coffee since January first.

Thankfully, there's an easy way to avoid paying the new higher price.

Read the full entry »

Let’s make 2019 the year we choose a safer, healthier future.

Issued in the blog on January 01, 2019 at 06:20:00.

Poolbeg sunset by Philip Milne - Poolbeg chimneys. A monument to the sunset industries of the fossil fuel age. Photo by Philip Milne.
Poolbeg chimneys. A monument to the sunset industries of the fossil fuel age. Photo by Philip Milne.

This is the full length version of an article for the Irish Independent

Politicians and the public are paying attention to climate change like never before. A number of factors coming together gives us the opportunity to make 2019 the year Ireland takes climate action seriously.

Read the full entry »

Friends of the Earth Newsletter, November 2018

Issued in the blog on November 26, 2018 at 16:06:00.

Welcome to our newsletter - catch up on what we've achieved over the past few months thanks to your support, time and donations. See what we're planning next and how you can be involved!

Community Energy

Publication cover - Factsheet_Run on SunThe way energy is generated, sold and used in Ireland is changing fast. A couple of weeks ago, we asked for your thoughts on buying, investing in and supporting locally owned renewable energy. A million thanks to those of you who took that survey. There is very little Irish research on this topic, so real data from real people is invaluable to us. If you’re interested in the results, you can see them here. slightly smiling face

Read the full entry »

We can spark the solar revolution if we act right now.

Issued in the blog on November 23, 2018 at 00:34:00.

Let there be light FINAL

Over 20,000 people signed our petition to support solar power in Ireland. Even Leo signed, while hanging out at Electric Picnic before he was Taoiseach. He agreed then there should be a fair payment for solar power.

And now it could happen, if you email your TDs today.

The Dáil will debate a draft law next Tuesday (the 27th) which would finally mean small-scale generators of renewable energy would get paid for the electricity they supply to the grid.

Will you ask your TD to support it?

Email my TDs


to back community-scale renewables.

 

At the moment in Ireland if you generate your own energy, any you don't use it all immediately, you have to give it away for free to the ESB.

Read the full entry »

Solar Schools ***Competition Time***

Issued in news on November 15, 2018 at 21:41:00.

Solar Schools

Do you want your school to be a Solar School? To run on free, clean, renewable energy?

Friends of the Earth and a number of energy co-operatives are running a competition to give five lucky schools the opportunity to have solar panels, designed and installed at their school in 2019 with a 90% grant.   

Read the full entry »

U-turn on carbon tax would be 'two fingers to younger generations'

Issued in news on October 09, 2018 at 10:25:00.

Budget 2019

Budget a key test of Taoiseach's credibility on climate change, one day after stark scientific call for action

Reacting to reports that that the Government may drop plans to raise the carbon tax by €10 in today's Budget, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan commented:

Read the full entry »

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Digital Revolutionaries