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Support the peat workers

Tell your TD the Government needs to sit down now with the workers, Bord Na Mona, the ESB and the communities to draw up a plan to secure the future of the communities impacted by the wind down of jobs in burning peat and coal.

We all know working in fossil fuels is not a job for the future. Extracting and burning fossil fuels is not compatible with a planet that is safe for us to live on. This means the industry has to wind down. Fast.

In Ireland many of these jobs are in peat and coal, and the wind down is happening already. But the people and communities whose livelihoods depend on fossil fuel jobs in Bord na Mona and ESB, which are state-owned companies, are being let down badly.

This Thursday TD's will debate legislation on the future for workers in these industries. This transition can happen in a planned way, negotiated with the Trade Unions , that supports workers and builds alternative clean, future-proof jobs. Or it can be shocking and sudden. Click below to email your TD and ask them to VOTE for this Bill, and to call on the Government to start discussions NOW with Trade Unions, the companies and the local communities, to deliver security and opportunities for those impacted by the transition to a low carbon economy.

It's 21 years since the Government was first advised to get out of coal and peat, because of the extremely damaging impact on local environments and the climate. In the midlands, An Bord Pleanála, and the Environmental Protection Agency are forcing the closures of peat stations because of this pollution. This is leading to sudden redundancies and job insecurity. The bottom line of the ESB and the Bord Na Mána, commericial semi-state companies, is under threat and it's the workers who are being cast aside first.

TD's have the the power to change this. They can force the Government to establish a Just Transition Taskforce to secure the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Unions have made it very clear they are up for negotiation, and Friends of the Earth are in lock step with them. Please email your TD and ask the Government to take this seriously and get involved now. In the same way they get involved when a US multinational company pulls out of Ireland, or with the urgency with which they are acting over the beef dispute.

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.

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. 

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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