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No Fracking Fermanagh

Fracking in Ireland - Dawn of the Dead?

It was a huge relief when fracking was banned in the Republic of Ireland in 2017. The arguments about the environment, climate change, local communities, their economies, and most of all about public health carried the day in the Oireachtas. Even the much-derided report overseen by the Irish EPA could not be confident it understood the complex geology of the Northwest Carboniferous Basin, let alone that that fracking could be done safely and protect groundwater.

But, across the 'border' in Northern Ireland, Tamboran Resources are back for another bite.  They want to frack in Fermanagh.

Our envrionment doesn't see borders. 

Whichever side you live on, you can tell the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland what you think of this plan. There is a short consultation period, ending on 5th July, during which individuals and groups can make their views known to the Department.  We've pre-written a short email for you if you're in a hurry.  But feel free to edit it yourself, and add a bit at the beginning.  Personal contributions make a huge difference. 

 

Stop looking for new oil and gas that we can't afford to burn

Urge all parties in the Dáil to promise to legislate to end new fossil fuel exploration

Leo's SocksDo you remember the youthful vibe Leo Varadkar used to go for? He was down with the kids and he knew his Kylie from his Killers?

Well, Leo's lost it.

Faced with a simple choice Leo has sided with the comfortable oil men in suits rather than the anxious school children in the streets.

Last week his Government invoked an arcane parliamentary procedure to block any further Dáil debate on a Bill that would end new exploration for oil and gas in Irish waters.

Yes, I'll email my TDs - red button

Thanks to Sunday Business Post reporting we know that one of Leo's top advisers recently had an "unrecorded meeting" with a top oil lobbyist. Meanwhile Leo has declined all requests to meet with the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and the umbrella body for environmental NGOs since he took office.

The good news is that Leo is in a dwindling minority of politicians who are willing to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry.

There is a solid majority of TDs in the Dáil who backed the Climate Emergency Bill. Now we need them to commit to introducing and supporting a new Bill to end fossil fuel exploration.

Will you email your TDs to ask them to support a new law?

Yes, I'll email my TDs - red button

Science is on our side. History is on our side. The majority of TDs are on our side. But time is not our side. Money is not on our side. And it seems Leo is choosing sides too. Shutting down debate because he knows he can't win the argument or the vote.

But our movement is growing. We need to stand strong, stand with the school strikers, and stand up for democracy.

There is a rally outside the Dáil today at 5.30pm to protest about all the Bills the Government has delayed or derailed by invoking the money message procedure - over 50 in all! If you're in striking distance of Dublin city centre today please do think about joining us.

Equally, Stop Climate Chaos is launching a 20-page analysis of Richard Bruton's new Climate Action Plan at lunchtime today in Buswells Hotel. I'll be among those on the panel. Again, all are welcome. Details here - where the report will also be online this afternoon.

There is no doubt we will win. The only question is will we win fast enough to contain climate change.

Together we can,

Oisin

P.S. Your TD needs to know that you want them to follow-through on their fine words and deliver legislation to end fossil fuel exploration. Please email them now.

Defend Democracy 2019-0709

No to Shannon LNG

We oppose the building of terminals to import fracked gas, lock us into fossil fuel dependence, and blow our chances of containing climate change.

In 2008 a company called Shannon LNG was granted planning permission to build a terminal on the Shannon estuary in northern Kerry, to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). The terminal hasn't been built, but now the company is looking to get an extension of the planning permission. An Bord Pleanála are considering whether this constitutes a material change to the original permission.

So much has changed since 2008:

  • In 2012, the International Energy Agency concluded "No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2°C goal" for limiting climate change.
  • In 2013 the IPCC published their latest assessment of climate science and estimated that we had used over half the "global carbon budget" if we want to avoid 2°C of global warming, and the entire budget will be exhausted in less than 30 years (5 years ago) if we continue to burn fossil fuels at current rates.
  • In 2015 the Oireachtas passed the Climate Action law to underpin Government policy of reducing Irish carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050. Moreover, the Energy White Paper adopted by Government shortly afterwards set a target for the energy sector of cutting emissions by 80-95% by 2050.
  • Also in 2015, 196 countries agreed the Paris Climate Accord with the aim of "Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels". 
  • In 2017, the Tyndall Centre in Manchester University and Teeside University published a study which found "Current levels of emissions will use up the EU’s 2°C carbon budget in under nine years", "Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transport increases the climate change impact of natural gas supply chains" and crucially "within two decades fossil fuel use, including gas, must have all but ceased, with complete decarbonisation following soon after."
  • And in 2017, Ireland banned hydraulic fracturing - fracking - for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas onshore in Ireland.

Building LNG terminals that last 30 years makes no economic or environmental sense for Ireland, when we have to leave 2/3 of known fossil fuels in the ground and stop burning gas altogether within two decades. There is a high risk the terminals would become stranded assets, white elephants, monuments to the folly of the late fossil age.

Building LNG terminals to import fracked gas makes no moral sense when we banned fracking - just last year - because the public and our parliament decided the potentially devastating impacts on communities' water, health and tourism and farming were two high a price to pay. Surely we don't now want to import fracked gas from communities from the US and elsewhere struggling to cope with those same impacts.

We urge An Bord Pleanála to refuse an extension to the planning permission as importing LNG is clearly no longer a sustainable option for Ireland.

We urge the Government to reverse it's short-sighted support for building LNG terminals and locking us into fossil fuel dependence, just when opportunities to invest in saving energy and ramping up community-centred renewables are opening up.

*If you sign this petition we will include your name on a list endorsing this explanatory text as a submission to An Bord Pleanala. 

I'm sick of plastic and I want to see action

Tell the new Climate Minister to support Waste Reduction Bill!

We are all sick of plastic. 

Everyday in Ireland we use more than 500,000 plastic-lined coffee cups that can't be recycled, more than 2 million plastic bottles that don't get recycled, and supermarkets foist more and more packaging on us. Meanwhile, micro-plastics are making the fish we eat sick, and if we keep going the way we are, plastic waste will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050.

But there are solutions.

Waste Reduction Bill

A Dáil Committee has backed a Waste Reduction Bill that contains the measures we are calling for. 

The Waste Reduction Bill would give Ireland the chance to lead in tackling plastic waste. But the former climate minister Denis Naughten was using an underhand parliamentary trick to block the bill.

Now, we have a great opportunity to persuade the new climate minister, Richard Bruton, to allow the Bill move forward.

The Bill (draft law) would introduce a deposit on plastic bottles, which would be refunded when you bring the bottle back for recycling. In countries where they have a scheme like this recycling rates are as high as 98%. We had a deposit and refund scheme for glass bottles in the past. It's time to do it for plastic.

We know producers and retailers are lobbying hard *against* a deposit and return scheme because they say it would be inconvenient or too expensive. Independent research shows the scheme would cost about 1c per bottle. We need to show that people really want to see action on plastic and don't want supermarkets and big business dragging their heels.

The Bill would introduce a 'latte levy' on single-use coffee cups to encourage reuse. Your average coffee cup has an inner plastic lining, and therefore cannot be recycled. Many cafés have joined the Conscious Cup Campaign and offer customers a discount, double loyalty points, or like coffeeangel do, make a donation to Friends of the Earth every time someone brings a reusable cup.

The EU Parliament have voted in favour of banning some of the most problematic single use plastic items including plates, cutlery and straws. The waste reduction bill includes this to ensure Ireland follows suit to phase out the use of single use plastics.

Separately, the Government has promised a ban on micro-plastics before the end of the 2018 but they have been slow to bring forward legislation to progress the opposition Bill that is waiting for a Dáil Committee to make time to consider it.

What Irish supermarkets can do

We've written to the CEO's of big supermarket chains asking them to take these six steps:

  1. Offer more items without packaging, such as fruit and vegetables (without plastic trays, wrapping and nets).
  2. Make their own-brand packaging easily compostable or recyclable, and use less plastic.
  3. Demand, through their purchasing power, that other brands they carry have easily compostable or recyclable packaging, and use less plastic.
  4. Blaze a trail in Ireland by implementing a plastic free aisle, as has been done in the Netherlands.
  5. Provide items in bulk, where possible, to reduce packaging.
  6. Allow shoppers use their own containers to buy dried goods, buying only what they need.

Sick of Plastic is a national campaign in partnership with VOICE Ireland.

Leo, let there be light!

Please sign this petition to urge the Government include a fair payment for small-scale renewable energy. Leo Varadkar signed this petition at Electric Picnic last year. But the new draft plan for renewable electricity doesn't include support for small-scale rooftop solar - it's all about big business.

Please sign this petition to urge the Government not to exclude small-scale rooftop solar from new plans to support renewable electricity.

As solar panel tecnolology improves and costs fall we want to see Ireland unlock its solar power potential.

As a first step we’re demanding the Government guarantee a fair payment for solar electricity, so people get paid for the excess energy they generate with panels on the roofs of their homes, farm buildings, schools, clubs and community halls. 

Leo Varadkar signed this petition at Electric Picnic last year. But the new draft plan for renewable electricity doesn't include support for small-scale rooftop solar - it's all about big business.

A new bill to force electricity companies to pay small scale generators for their excess power passed the second stage of the Dail in 2018, and is now being considereed by the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment who will decide does it proceed to 3rd stage.

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