Energy White Paper first test of Ireland's commitment on Climate Change
15 Dec 2015
Tomorrow morning, Wednesday 16th December, Minister Alex White will launch the long awaited White Paper on Energy.
Only days after the historic agreement on climate change was agreed in Paris, this is the first opportunity for Ireland to reveal its true commitment to playing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and phase out fossil fuels.
Will it deliver? Friends of the Earth will be analysing it based on the following 6 questions.
1. Is it visionary? – Does it set out a goal of ‘fossil fuel free’ 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 their lives?
6. Will it ensure we travel less and travel smarter? With plans to incentivise electric vehicles and public transport. Will it ensure we dont fuel our cars with biofuls at the expense of cutting down rainforests in South East Asia.
Kate Ruddock, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Friends of the Earth says,
‘The Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the international audience in Paris that every country big and small has a part to play. As the first policy document to come out since the Paris Agreement where 195 countries committed to act on Climate Change, this is a true test of whether Ireland, with its over 90% reliance on fossil fuels will be playing its part in the energy sector.
With big companies like Apple and Google demanding renewable energy, there is a huge opportunity for Ireland to set out its cards and make a commitment to be fossil fuel free by 2050. Then, maybe we can become the ‘best small country in the world to do low carbon business’ “
The European Commission published an analysis of the state of Ireland’s energy system last month, which stated that under the current policy framework, Ireland was unlikely to meet the 2020 renewable energy targets. With the risk of big fines ahead, the opportunity to invest is now to ensure we meet our existing targets and put us on the right track to further increases in renewable energy’
Friends of the Earth have developed '6 Steps to an Energy Revolution - An action plan for a fossil fuel free Ireland by 2050'