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Close the loopholes in the Climate Bill

Email your TDs today

Ireland could have a new climate law before 2020 draws to a close. However the current draft of this law has some alarming loopholes and weaknesses that must be addressed to make the Bill fit for purpose - and capable of really driving climate action.

The Climate Bill is currently being examined by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action - which can propose amendments to the Bill. This gives us a short but crucial window of opportunity to get the Bill strengthened.

Stop Climate Chaos has produced a briefing to assess the Bill and outline how it can be strengthened to close these loopholes. We need to make sure that the Committee reads this briefing and supports its recommendations, which are summarised below:

1. Add the word "achieve" back into the objective to achieve net zero by 2050.

The Heads of Bill published by the outgoing Government in January included the word “achieve” in the 2050 objective. This draft Bill does not, it instead uses the word “pursue” on its own. The word “achieve” needs to go back in.

2. Add the words "at the latest" into the following text: "The state shall achieve the objective of a climate neutral economy by 2050"

The 2050 objective in the Bill must be a floor for Ireland’s climate ambition, not a ceiling, particularly as net-zero by 2050 still does not represent our fair share of the global effort to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

3. The definition of a Carbon Budget must be tightened to make it explicit that it will cover all gases and all sectors in a single national emissions limit.

4. The Bill must oblige the Climate Change Advisory Council to propose Carbon Budgets that are in line with the 2050 climate objective in the Bill.

That clear and direct relationship between the long-term target and the 5-year Carbon Budgets is the driving force of effective climate laws in other jurisdictions. The budgets must ensure consistent, sustained action between now and 2050 in line with EU targets. It is currently missing in this Bill.

5. There must be a clear duty on the minister and the government to produce plans that are in line with the Carbon Budgets.

Not just to “have regard to” the Carbon Budgets when producing their plans.

By taking this e-action, you can email your TDs, asking them to make a representation on your behalf to the Chair and the Clerk of the Committee, urging them to support Stop Climate Chaos's recommendations to improve the Bill. The email sent to your TDs will also ask them to speak to their political grouping’s nominee on the Committee on Climate Action. You can personalize or modify the text of the email if you wish!

 

 

Public bodies undermining climate justice! Email those in power NOW.

Reform the Mandates

Friends of the Earth Ireland via its involvement in the Citizens for Financial Justice European project commissioned an independent researcher to examine the role of public bodies in driving Ireland’s decarbonisation - focusing on the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

The research found that, rather than driving decarbonisation, the ESB, GNI and CRU are actually undermining Irish and international climate targets. All three bodies address decarbonisation in their strategies or mission statements in the form of “low-carbon” commitments. However, our research demonstrates that their respective statutory authorisations (i.e. mandates) do not specify compliance with national and international climate law, are not fully aligned with Paris Agreement obligations and do not properly address principles of climate justice or sustainable development.

​​In fact, the mandates of ESB and GNI allow for continued and potentially increasing investment in fossil gas infrastructure. Their current investment plans plan to expand fossil fuel infrastructure and continue to subsidise fossil gas investment and usage. These plans are likely to ‘lock-in’ carbon intensive high emissions and undermine investment in energy conservation and renewable generation.

​​Reducing carbon emissions from the energy sector can only happen by cutting out fossil fuels. It is therefore very concerning that public bodies are showing no signs of doing this. It would be highly dangerous to rely on unproven false solutions such as Carbon Capture and Storage, which also come with a myriad of ethical problems and are vehemently opposed by climate justice movements. There is simply no room for continued fossil fuel investment in a world that is already experiencing severe climate impacts.

​​Therefore urgent Government action is now required to revise the mandates of Ireland’s public bodies so that they align with climate targets. The Government can do this by amending Ireland’s Climate Law, as part of the planned publication of a new Climate Amendment Bill within the first 100 days of the new Government coming into office.

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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For the Love of Solar

Change the rules for Solar Schools

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.

Can you sign our petition, and help us change the rules? This one is a no brainer.

We are working with schools to install solar so we can show all the benefits of solar, and highlight the challenges. Schools need planning permission for even one solar panel, and they cannot easily sell or share any of the energy they generate at weekends when they are not there to use the power. 

Without a feed-in-tarrif, so much unused renewable energy goes to waste. We want communities to be able to earn money by selling their energy back to the grid.

Minister after Minister has agreed with us that the rules for solar are too restrictive. Yet, action is yet to follow words.

It's time for action, sign the petition!

Are you a school?

Lots of schools have already signed up to help change the rules so every school can be a Solar School. See the schools signed up on the map below. You can sign up too here at this link.

 

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.

We must press the Government to adopt an ambitious Single-Use Plastic plan that embraces the circular economy.

Such measures must include the following:

  • A Deposit Refund Scheme which would place a deposit on all plastic and glass drinks bottles as well as cans, which would be refunded when you bring the container 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 again.

    *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.
  • Introduce a 'latte levy' on all single-use coffee cups and take-away containers 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.

  • Enforce a ban on the most problematic single-use plastic items such as straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and cups.

  • Move away from compostable options as this still supports a throw-away culture.

  • Encourage and reward the use of reusable items. There is a better way than throw away.

What Irish supermarkets can do

  1. Offer more items without packaging, such as fruit and vegetables (without plastic trays, wrapping and nets) at competitve prices

  2. Make their own-brand packaging easily reusable, compostable or recyclable, and use less plastic

  3. Demand, through their purchasing power, that other brands they carry have easily reusable, 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, deli items, salads, fish etc - buying only what they need

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

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