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Decision to end oil exploration by Taoiseach is welcome: 'an important signal to investors'

23 Sep 2019

Taoiseach's announcement on oil exploration at UN Summit a welcome step

But no room for new gas either says Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth has welcomed the announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the UN Climate Action Summit that Ireland will end the exploration for oil in Irish waters [1].

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

"The Taoiseach has sent an important signal to investors that Ireland accepts the majority of fossil fuels have to stay in the ground if we are to contain climate change.

"However, Ireland is still running the risk of carbon lock-in by not phasing out gas exploration now also. There is no room for gas in the European energy system beyond 2035 so there is no justification for bringing any new gas into production [2].

"The Climate Advisory Council has said it will keep the issue of gas under review. I imagine whoever the next Minister is after the Election will ask the Council to re-examine the issue. In the meantime, I hope the Council will publish the evidence and research it based its judgement about gas on, as their conclusion doesn't square with the research and evidence we are seeing."

In advance of the summit Friends of the Earth had proposed to the Taoiseach that he announce a moratorium on exploration for both oil and gas until the new Dáil could consider the evidence complied by the Climate Change Advisory Council on the future of exploration in the context of the Paris Climate Agreement.

This morning Friends of the Earth laid out "Six steps for Leo to take a great leap on Irish climate leadership" at the UN Summit [4]. This move amounts to half of one of those steps. We sill watch the speech with interest to see what the Taoiseach says about the other 5 steps.

Notes:

[1] The announcement was made in New York in advance of the Taoiseach's speech to the UN Climate Action Summit:
https://twitter.com/RichardbrutonTD/status/1176132712186466309

[2] Friends of the Earth Europe commissioned the Tyndall Climate Centre at Manchester University do to a study called "Natural gas and climate change", published in 2017:
https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/extractive_industries/2017/can_the_climate_afford_europes_gas_addiction_press_release_november2017.pdf

[3] Friends of the Earth met with the Taoiseach two weeks ago in advance of the UN Summit. A moratorium on oil and gas exploration was among the issues discused.
https://www.foe.ie/news/2019/09/16/taoiseach-should-announce-moratorium-on-new-oil-and-gas-exploration-at-un-climate-summit/

[4] https://www.foe.ie/news/2019/09/23/what-the-taoiseach-should-tell-the-un-climate-action-summit-toda/

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