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2016 summer update

29 Jul 2016

As a valued supporter, we at Friends of the Earth would like to let you know how your support has contributed to our campaigns for environmental justice and a fossil-free future for Ireland.

Reverse the Decision to Abolish the Department of Environment

In May, Friends of the Earth, An Taisce, Birdwatch, VOICE and Irish Wildlife Trust ran a joint petition urging the Taoiseach to reverse his decision to abolish the Department of Environment. His decision was outrageous, as it showed a blatant disregard for a healthy environment, and would have left us embarrassed as the only EU member apart from Hungary without a Minister for the Environment.

After consistent campaigning, our efforts resulted in success! The decision was reversed, with Minister Naughten announcing the establishment of a Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. We are sure you were as pleased as we were to hear this, and know that it wouldn’t have happened without your support.

Campaigners call for ministerial responsibility for key environmental functions

However, there was a gaping hole in the government’s proposal, as they didn’t include responsibility for water or wildlife in the new department. So, in protest, a bee, brent goose, deer, fox, a squirrel and some butterflies took the petition signed by over 13,000 of you to the Department of the Environment on Adelaide Road, demanding to be let in! Watch them in action here.

We're bringing Green Messengers to Electric Picnic 2016 to help make it green again!

Thanks to your support we have been able to dedicate staff time to mobilizing volunteers to be ‘Green Messengers’ at Electric Picnic 2016. We held our third and final information session this week, and were delighted that we have had more people apply than we have places for (over 270 have applied!), showing that this is a very popular activity with our supporters. Our petition from the Picnic last year asked for a guaranteed payment for solar electricity and this year we will be developing that ask as part of our new ‘Run on Sun’ campaign (watch this space).

New report shows Irish agriculture is neither ‘climate-smart’ nor sustainable

Stop Climate Chaos and the Environmental Pillar released a scathing study of the narrative surrounding Irish agriculture – in short, that it’s ‘efficient’, ‘feeding the world’ and ‘climate-smart’.

According to the analysis by the two NGO coalitions Ireland’s cattle-based agriculture is actually less efficient than the European average - in terms of the level of greenhouse gases emitted per calorie of bovine food produced - and methane produced per head of cattle has increased in Ireland since 1990.

Read more here.

New European Climate Change targets let Ireland off the hook but they will not keep global warming below 1.5C target

The European Commission’s proposed national emissions reductions targets for 2030 were released last week. Under the proposed agreement Ireland will have to reduce our total emissions from transport, buildings and agriculture by 30% from 2005 levels. However, when loopholes are factored in, Ireland in fact only has to reduce its emissions by 20.4%. Given that we are already supposed to have achieved a 20% reduction by 2020, Ireland is not doing its fair share. This is because Irish officials and ministers spent the last 5 years lobbying for special treatment for Irish agriculture.

Similarly, Friends of the Earth Europe called the overall plan a fraud as it is not in line with the Paris Agreement or the science. Read the expert analysis of the overall EU from Climate Action Network Europe here, where Ireland was used as an example of how this decision will not keep global warming below the 1.5C target. Kate, our Head of Policy, spoke on behalf of The Environmental Pillar on UTV Ireland on Monday July 25th. And she's featured in this report for Drivetime on RTE.

Screening of the film "Atlantic"

We're screening Richie O'Donnell's Atlantic on Wednesday Aug 17th in Filmbase in Temple Bar, in Dublin. Read more about the film and book your tickets here.
We'll also be launching our new short film on Community Power. Doors open at 6:30 and the film starts at 7.

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