Trinity College's Decision to Divest from Fossil Fuels an "Historic Step". Government should follow suit.
Trinity Fossil Free campaigners with the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast.
Stop Climate Chaos Coalition
4pm Monday 12th December 2016
Trinity College's Decision to Divest from Fossil Fuels an "Historic Step"
Victorious student campaigners join call for Government to take taxpayers' money out of fossil fuels
On the first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Stop Climate Chaos welcomes the official announcement by Trinity College Dublin that it is divesting its endowment fund of all investments in fossil fuel companies, in light of the urgency to wind down the fossil fuel industry if the commitments made in Paris are to be met. Stop Climate Chaos, the coalition of civil society organisations campaigning for climate action in Ireland, will join Trinity student campaigners at the Dáil tomorrow at 1pm to bring the message of their campaign to politicians and call for the Government to divest the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.
Commenting, Stop Climate Chaos spokesperson, Oisin Coghlan said
"Trinity's decision to divest is an historic step. One year ago today in Paris political leaders made a solemn commitment to limit warming of the planet to well below 2 degrees C. There is ample evidence that fossil fuel companies have far more fossil fuels in their currently operating fields and reserves than we can ever burn if we are to respect that limit. Avoiding climate catastrophe means keeping the majority of remaining fossil fuels in the ground, and ramping up renewables to meet our energy needs."
The business plans of fossil fuel companies show they have no intention of abiding by the Paris Agreement. They intend to continue to extract and explore for even more fossil fuels.
Oisin Coghlan continued
"A safe future means a fossil free future. By divesting you send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry that what they are doing is unacceptable, and you send a message to political leaders, that they need to act urgently and decisively to wind down the fossil fuel industry in a just and orderly manner. Today, Trinity has put itself on the right side of history. Now it's time for the Government to do the same."
Eamonn Meehan, Director of Trocaire said:
"Current climate impacts are already too much for the communities that we work with. Today, 9.7 million people in Ethiopia are in need of food aid due to drought, exacerbated by climate change and El Nino. To fail to deliver on the commitments made in Paris is to knowingly condemn these women, men and children to even further suffering. This is something we simply cannot accept. Divesting the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund of its investments in fossil fuels would send a powerful signal of intent to people in Ireland, and people around the world, that Ireland is serious about the commitments made in Paris last year."
Fossil fuel divestment campaigns in Ireland are part of a global movement, the fastest growing of its kind in history. Spearheaded by university students running campus campaigns to urge their universities to divest in light of the moral inconsistency of their investments in an industry that is undermining the future of the students, it has seen a wide and varied range of actors join its ranks in a few short years – from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a fortune built on oil, to pension funds, towns and cities in the US and Europe, including Berlin, Copenhagen, Oslo , faith groups and others. To date more than 600 institutions controlling assets of around $5 trillion have committed to divest.
Phil Kearney, Chair of the An Taisce Climate Change Committe said:
"President Trump is saying very concerning things about his intentions with regard to climate action. In Ireland on the other hand politicians are saying lots about our commitment to climate change, but in reality we’re moving in the wrong direction.
"Carbon emissions and energy use rose in Ireland last year. The credibility of Minister Naughten’s National Mitigation Plan due to be published this week will be seriously in question if it fails to chart a pathway to Ireland meeting the commitments it signed up to in Paris.
"We congratulate the Trinity students on their excellent campaign. We’ll be joining them at the Dail tomorrow to show politicians that the voices in Ireland calling for real ambition and action are growing."
1) The official press release from Trinity College announcing the decision is here: http://bit.ly/TCD121216
2) The press release from the student Fossil Free TCD campaign is here: http://bit.ly/Stu121216
3) Stop Climate Chaos "5 tests for Ireland's climate action plans" briefing is here: http://bit.ly/SCC5tests
4) Stop Climate Chaos is a coalition of 30 civil society organisations campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle climate change. Launched in 2007, it is the largest network of organisations campaigning on climate change in Ireland, and was central to the campaign for a climate law. The members include development, environmental, youth and faith-based organisations: Afri, BirdWatch Ireland, Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlámh, Community Workers’ Cooperative, Concern, Cultivate, Cyclist.ie, Dublin Friends of the Earth, Eco Congregation Ireland, ECO UNESCO, Feasta, Friends of the Earth, Gorta, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Just Forests, Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Latin America Solidarity Centre (LASC), Liberia Solidarity Group, Methodist Church of Ireland – Council of Social Responsibility, Mountmellick Environmental Group (MEG), National Youth Council of Ireland, Oxfam Ireland, Peoples Climate Ireland, Presentation Ireland, Sustain West Cork, Trócaire, An Taisce, VITA and V.O.I.C.E.
Stop Climate Chaos, 9 Upper Mount Street, D02 K659. www.stopclimatechaos.ie.
Ask your TDs to meet you in Buswells on 15th November
Stop Climate Chaos will be hosting briefing meetings between TDs and local constituents in Buswells Hotel on Tuesday 15th November from 11am to 7pm.
In the coming days supporters of the 31 member organizations of the coalition, from Birdwatch to Trócaire, will be emailing their local TDs asking to meet them in Buswells on the day. And we're inviting anyone else interested in seeing climate action in Ireland to take part too!
The focus of the day is the challenges and opportunities for Ireland in the rapid and just transition to a carbon free future that is now imperative. The Government has set a national transition objective of an 80% reduction in emissions between transport, energy and buildings and carbon neutrality for agriculture by 2050. In fact, that is the least we will have to do to do our fair share to achieve the goals of the landmark Paris Agreement, which is about to come into force, to limit global warming to less than 2C.
In the nearer term we face challenging EU targets for 2020 and 2030 and unfortunately we have no plan for how to meet them. The National Climate Change Strategy expired at the end of 2012. Thankfully, the Climate Action Act requires a new national action plan to be agreed before June next year so it is now timely to discuss what should be in it.
We’re really looking forward to the National Dialogue on Climate Change promised in the Programme for Government and the TD meetings we’re hosting on 15th November is a down payment from Stop Climate Chaos on our commitment to be enthusiastic participants in that dialogue.
We think there are many positive initiatives the Oireachtas and the Government can progress to help achieve a stable climate while helping all our communities build a clean, healthy and prosperous future, and we look forward to discussing them with TDs on the day.
The next step is for you to ask your local TD(s) for a meeting on the 15th. Once a few people have done that for any TD we will coordinate with their office about the best time for the meeting. Staff members from the various Stop Climate Chaos member organizations will be on hand on the day to help you prepare for the meeting. The email action to ask your TD(s) to meet you is live here now.
New report shows Irish agriculture is neither ‘climate-smart’ nor sustainable
Irish cattle less climate-efficient than European average and emissions per head up from 1990
18 Jul 2016
Stop Climate Chaos and the Environmental Pillar have published a new report titled “Not So Green: Debunking the Myths around Irish Agriculture”. Drawing heavily on scientific evidence, the report challenges government and industry claims and shows that Ireland’s current agriculture and land-use policy is neither ‘climate-smart’ nor sustainable.
According to the study 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.
Spokesperson for the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, Catherine Devitt, said:
“Based on detailed evidence, our analysis clearly shows that Ireland’s livestock agriculture is less efficient than claimed, and does not contribute to global food security. In fact, due to increasing emissions, the livestock sector is actively contributing to increased climate pollution and global food insecurity, putting the lives and livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest populations at risk. For reasons outlined in our report, meaningful efforts to address food security should aim to support small-scale producers.”
Allowing an increase in emissions, inevitable under current policy plans for expansion of the livestock sector, will mean that Ireland will fail to do its part in meeting its EU and Paris Agreement climate targets. The report outlines that intensive livestock production is an extremely climate, calorie and fertiliser intensive way of producing protein at scale. The extent to which the current model of production actually provides a sustainable livelihood for Irish farmers is also called into question.
Commenting on the biodiversity implications of Ireland’s proposed strategy to offset emissions from intensive agriculture by intensifying afforestation, Oonagh Duggan, Policy Officer with BirdWatch Ireland said:
“Both agriculture and forestry can be significant pressures and threats to birds and other biodiversity in Ireland. Environmental integrity is lacking in policies that are being being rolled out for these sectors. We need to re-align agricultural policy so that the environment is at its core. The claims of sustainability in agriculture that we hear about regularly are not substantiated by the reality for many upland and lowland farmland birds and other environmental or sustainability indicators”.
The report also identifies glaring inadequacies in the government’s claim that afforestation presents a viable option to offset increasing emissions from the agricultural sector. Land-based carbon sequestration cannot count as climate mitigation because it cannot guarantee the permanent carbon dioxide removal required to limit global warming. Continued coniferous afforestation and timber harvesting on the existing model also presents significant threats to Ireland’s biodiversity and water quality. Preserving Ireland’s carbon rich peatlands needs to be a far higher priority than afforestation; climate action requires a halt to peat extraction.
The new report just comes days before the European Commission publishes its proposed national shares of the EU’s 2030 target. The Fine Gael - led governments since 2011 have made a concerted lobbying effort to have Ireland’s 2030 target watered down based partly the special place agriculture has in the Irish economy. Stop Climate Chaos and the Environmental Pillar call on the European Commission to ensure that Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) is dealt with in a separate pillar to ensure that all sectors including agriculture reduce emissions first rather than making unjustified use of offsets.
Stop Climate Chaos and the Environmental Pillar believe a change in direction in current agriculture and land-use policy is necessary and possible. However, a first step must be to accept the reality of the sector’s past and projected impacts on climate, food security and the environment. A re-aligned policy pathway is needed to plan for sustained year-on-year reductions in absolute emissions from agriculture, to avoid reliance on forestry for emissions offsets, to restore past damage to biodiversity and water quality, and to truly contribute to achieving food security for the world’s poorest.
The short 2 page summary is available to download here.
The full report is available to download here.
Fine Gael's Foundation for Government document shows they still have their heads in the sand on climate change
8 Apr 2016
Stop Climate Chaos has today said that Fine Gael’s A New Partnership Government: A Foundation Document misses the mark on climate change. Despite spanning nine pages, the climate change section fails to include any reference to agreed climate targets from the National Policy Position which was introduced under Fine Gael in the 31st Dáil.
Commenting, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said:
"The document’s climate change section outlines the challenges but says little about how Ireland will fulfil its commitments to immediately reduce harmful emissions across all sectors under the Climate Act agreed in December. There is also no mention of related targets outlined in the 2014 National Policy Position which sets an objective of 80% reductions by 2050 in energy, buildings and transport and carbon neutrality in agriculture.
"We’re in a very precarious situation at the moment. The EPA stated only last month that Ireland will miss our EU2020 emissions reduction commitments, which require Ireland to reduce our emissions by 20% by the year 2020. Instead the EPA project we will have reduced emissions by a mere 6-11% by the 2020 deadline. Analysis from Green Budget Europe shows that Ireland’s performance is the second worst in Europe, and that Ireland could in fact become the worst performer if Luxembourg’s figures are updated. This would not only be extremely embarrassing for Ireland but failure to comply with the commitments we have agreed to will result in costly fines, with some putting estimates of these fines into the billions of euro.
The document is also weak on Ireland’s two most challenging sectors – transport and agriculture. By 2020 these two sectors will account for over three quarters of Ireland’s emissions in the non-ETS sector. Ms Kirrane continued:
"The only measures mentioned in the document relating to agriculture are about improving efficiency but this is completely inadequate. If we are to address the overall impact of agriculture we have to urgently introduce measures that reduce total emissions from the sector.
"The document implies that Ireland can be a world leader on climate change without doing much to address the causes of climate change. There are bold statements about Ireland wanting to reposition itself as a global leader, but in practice we know that Ireland is doing very little. Disturbingly it seems that if anything, Ireland is acting as an impediment to increasing action and ambition at the European level.
"In two weeks’ time world leaders will travel to New York to sign the Paris Agreement on climate action. Our Taoiseach was in Paris in December for the historic summit which led to the Agreement. Now the real work of making immediate, large and sustained whole-economy emission reductions begins. In our view, attendance at the signing ceremony will signal whether Ireland is serious or not about our intent to align our society and economic future with meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets."
Notes to editors:
Election Day is looming - see what our members are calling for!
19 Feb 2016
Last year was a really big year for climate change. Ireland finally passed a Climate Law and, after two decades of negotiating, 195 countries agreed to a new global climate deal which aims to reduce global emissions to zero. In November citizens of Ireland took to the streets in greater numbers than ever before to call for climate action at the People's Climate March.
But stark reminders that our work to tackle climate change is just beginning came in the form of record breaking global temperatures (2015 was the hottest year on record since records began) and devastating flooding across Ireland (December was the warmest and wettest month on record).
This day next week we go to the polls. The results of Election 2016 will shape how Ireland translates the Climate Law, and indeed the global agreement, into action. We’re calling on you to talk to politicians who knock on your door about the reality of climate change and how concerned you are about it. Here’s a rundown of what Stop Climate Chaos members are calling on candidates to do:
Trócaire's Vote for Justice, Friends of the Earth's fossil free action, Christian Aid's asks on Climate and Tax, Oxfam's calls for Equality, An Tasice's Climate Action asks, the National Youth Council of Ireland's manifesto, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice's calls for a Stand on Climate Change and Good Energies Alliance Pledge to Ban Fracking.
If you want to know where political parties stand on the environment but didn’t get a chance to attend the Environment Hustings hosted by Young Friends of the Earth and the Environmental Pillar on Wednesday, catch up here.
Please also sign on to the call from Ireland’s leading academics for a Citizens' Convention for a Post-Carbon Ireland
Saturday 20th Feb – if you missed our screening of This Changes Everything with Happenings last September, you can catch it tomorrow night in the Lutheran Church in Ireland, St. Finian's Church, 24 Adeleide Road, Dublin 2.
Saturday 19th March - Earth Hour will be marked in Ireland by churches all around the country ringing their bells as a Clarion Call to action on climate action.
Thanks for all your support in 2015. Let's make 2016 even better than last year for action on climate change!
Activists from Ireland set sail for Paris climate talks
9 Dec 2015
Thirty-five climate activists from around the country will today leave Dublin for Paris to take part in actions over the weekend as the climate negotiations draw to a close. Organised by Stop Climate Chaos, the group will undertake a 30 hour journey by land and sea to arrive in Paris in time for actions on Friday and Saturday, before getting back on their bus again on Sunday.
Stop Climate Chaos coordinator, Ciara Kirrane, said today:
"It's an exciting day for us. We've been planning this for months and are delighted to be bringing a busload of people from all walks of life and of all ages to Paris this weekend to call for climate justice and peace.
"Of course in light of the horrific events in Paris on 13th November, and the current security situation in the city, some of our plans have changed. But we believe we need to make our voices heard now more than ever, and be part of the global movement that is leading the transformation from a fossil fuel driven energy system into one that’s clean, efficient, renewable and owned and controlled by citizens. It's about people power and showing that whatever the outcome of the climate negotiations, we will have the last word."
The group will join thousands of other activists from around the world for a variety of creative actions around the city over the coming days.
On Sunday the world will unite for justice and peace. Join us.
There are now more than 2000 events planned in over 150 countries this weekend as part of the Global Climate March.
The French Government may have cancelled the People's Climate March in Paris on Sunday, amid ongoing security fears, but people around the world are stepping out and stepping up. Join us in Dublin on Sunday at 2pm on Custom House Quay. There are also events in Belfast, Galway and Cork.
We will be marching for climate justice, community energy and a carbon free future. We will also be marching in solidarity with the French, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and all those affected by the ongoing violence.
We already know climate chaos would undermine our societies and economies. We know that tackling climate change is a question of global justice. But climate change is also exacerbating conflict. Drought has been identified as one of the key catalysts of the Syrian conflict, killing livestock, undermining rural livelihoods and driving migration to the cities.
So when 150 world leaders arrive in Paris on Monday to kick-start the UN talks for a global climate deal, it will also be a justice and peace summit. And we cannot let Governments' security agenda silence civil society. When prime ministers meet we want the voices of the people ringing in their ears.
SHARE the March on Facebook. And INVITE your friends.
RETWEET our tweet about the march.
We will be marching because we don't trust our leaders to lead. We know the real leaders are the communities on the frontline of the climate crisis and of the energy revolution we need to solve it. Communities resisting land grabs for palm oil plantations in Africa, communities pioneering collective solar energy projects across the world and those organizing to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
If enough of us lead, our leaders will follow. Sunday's march will set the agenda and in the months and years ahead we will hold our leaders accountable for delivering it.
Coordinator, Stop Climate Chaos coalition
P.S. We are organizing a Climate Justice and Solidarity trip to Paris for the end of the UN talks. The French Government has banned the mass demonstrations on Saturday 12th, but international civil society is still working on creative ways for the tens of thousands still travelling to Paris to have the last word. Friends of the Earth International is organizing an indoor event on Friday 11th. The NGO Climate Action Zone is still going ahead with the support of the French Government. Read the detailed programme here. Live updates on the plans can be found here. If you want to join us for the overland trip - leaving the evening of Wednesday 9th and arriving back on the morning of Monday 14th - fill out this form and we'll be in touch. Stop Climate Chaos is subsidizing the trip so it'll cost around €250 depending on final numbers.
Please share this with anyone you know who might meet up with you at the march.
Before Paris climate summit begins, march organizers call for massive show of solidarity
A week ahead of the People’s Climate March, Stop Climate Chaos is calling for a massive turnout to show solidarity with the French, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis and all those affected by ISIS atrocities. The 29th November marks a global day of action on climate change, ahead of a UN climate change summit which gets underway in Paris on 30th November. Over 1500 marches in approximately 70 countries around the world are planned for next Sunday and as host nation, hundreds of thousands were expected to participate in the march in Paris. As a result of the attacks and the state of emergency, all public demonstrations have now been forbidden in the city.
Ciara Kirrane, coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said:
“Now more than ever we need people out on the street to lend their voice to the call for climate justice and peace. The horrific and tragic events in Paris means French civil society cannot express their fundamental right to protest which means we in the global movement and in Ireland must mobilise with even more determination than before.
“Around 150 world leaders will arrive in Paris on Monday 30th November to kick start the UN talks for a global climate agreement. We can’t let them off the hook; we must get out on the streets in even greater numbers to make sure they know that the world is watching. Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be among the 150 world leaders and we want him to be in no doubt as he arrives in Paris that Ireland is calling for climate justice, community energy and a carbon free future.”
Join the People's Climate March 29th November
March for climate justice, community energy and a carbon free future
At the end of November, governments will be gathering in Paris for COP 21 to finalize a global agreement on climate change. People around the world are calling for action – especially those who are most vulnerable to climate impacts yet have had no role in creating the problem. Our voices are critical if we want a better, more just, and sustainable society.
So make your voice heard and join the People's Climate March on Sunday 29th November to demand Climate Justice, Community Energy and a Carbon Free Future. We're assembling outside the Custom House at 2pm.
Nothing less than a systemic transformation of our societies, our economies, and our world will suffice to solve the climate crisis and close the ever-increasing inequality gap. The urgency to keep temperatures down is not just about the planet and the environment. It is about people, and our capacity as humanity to secure safe and dignified lives for all.
Make sure you're part of this international weekend of action. Join us in Dublin and if you can't make the Dublin march, please join rallies in Belfast, Cork and Galway.
Dáil passes Climate Bill but campaigners say real test is whether this translates into action
8 Oct 2015
Stop Climate Chaos today welcomed the fact that the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill has been passed by the Dáil but warned that actual measures to tackle climate change are yet to be delivered. The Final Stage of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill concluded this afternoon, less than two months before major UN climate talks get underway in Paris.
Commenting, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of Stop Climate Chaos, said:
“The passing of the Bill today is to be welcomed. It is long overdue but its passage in the Dáil draws a line in the sand and means attention can now move to how we as a society will achieve emission reductions in key sectors such as transport and agriculture.
“The Bill does not go as far as it should but some significant improvements were made along the way, such as the inclusion of the principal of climate justice and a guarantee that the climate advisory council will be independent in its duties. National action plans will also be obliged to take into account climate policy, the objective of which is an 80% reduction in emissions from buildings, energy and transport and carbon neutrality in agriculture.
“This Bill also guarantees that future governments must have an action plan for reducing emissions. The last national action plan on climate change expired in 2012, and it could be 2017 before a new plan is in place, meaning this government will have had no action plan on climate change for their entire term in office. The Climate Bill will ensure this behaviour cannot be repeated.”
The lack of progress on implementing climate mitigation measures has been echoed by the European Commission in a recent report which saw Ireland criticised for having ‘insufficient’ climate related policies.
Ms Kirrane continued:
“With only two months to go until major climate negotiations begin, the government must signal their intention to tackle climate change by setting out their vision and plan for decarbonising our society in the forthcoming Energy White Paper. The government must also live up to commitments made on providing climate finance to the Green Climate Fund. Ireland is one of only a handful of countries that has yet to pledge its contribution to this fund, which was a source of considerable embarrassment at last year’s UN climate negotiations.”
As Climate Bill debate continues in the Dáil campaigners say it is now time to pass it into law
30th September 2015
Stop Climate Chaos today welcomed the fact that the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill is back in the Dáil for Report Stage and says it is now time to pass the Bill into law. Acknowledging the progress made to date, in part from pressure applied by campaigners but also thanks to the interest from TDs on all sides, the coalition says that the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill must now be urgently passed into law. The Report Stage debate resumes two months ahead of major UN climate talks in Paris. The coalition adds however that passing the Climate Bill does not, in and of itself, constitute action.
Commenting, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of Stop Climate Chaos, said:
"While progress on the Climate Bill is to be welcomed, the real test is whether the government can translate this into action. Ireland has not had a national action plan on climate change since 2012, when the last plan expired, and there is currently no prospect of a new plan being in place until 2017. This means the government will have had no action plan on climate change for their entire term in office.
The lack of progress on implementing climate mitigation measures has been echoed by the European Commission in a recent report which saw Ireland criticised for having ‘insufficient’ climate related policies.
Ms Kirrane continued:
“With only two months to go until major climate negotiations begin, the government must signal their intention to tackle climate change by setting out their vision and plan for decarbonising our society in the forthcoming Energy White Paper. The government must also live up to commitments made on providing climate finance to the Green Climate Fund. Ireland is one of only a handful of countries that has yet to pledge its contribution to this fund, which was a source of considerable embarrassment at last year’s UN climate negotiations. Finally they must ensure adequate time is dedicated in the Dáil to passing the Climate Bill.”
Following calls from campaigning organisations that the Climate Bill was too weak to work, a number of amendments were accepted at Committee Stage in June. These changes included a reference to climate justice, a guarantee ensuring the independence of the Advisory Council and clarity on the low carbon objective.
Stop Climate Chaos hosts Irish premiere of This Changes Everything this weekend
This weekend, as part of a weekend of global climate action, Stop Climate Chaos and Happenings will host the Irish premiere of This Changes Everything. The documentary, based on Naomi Klein's bestselling book on climate change, is a powerful rallying-cry for a global movement to take on the challenge of climate change.
We're one of only a handful of countries getting to screen the film a month before it goes on general release so please join us for this outdoor screening to witness powerful stories from communities on the front line of climate change.
When: Saturday 26th September 5.30 – 9.30pm (film starts when it gets dark!)
Where: Merrion Square Park, Dublin
Tickets: €5 suggested donation on the gate
We will have live music from Mundy and Oliver Cole, the best of Dublin's street food offerings and entertainment in the form of a wandering Molly Malone, Climate Change Croquet, bicycle-demolished smoothies and bicycle-powered projections under the trees, a photo exhibition, hidden messages from Young Friends of the Earth, oh and free Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Will this film change everything? Probably not. But you could, by answering its call to action! So come along on Saturday and tell all your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues about it too.
Campaigners show Government have their Heads in the Sand on climate change
Saturday, 4th July 2015
Over 150 people of all ages gathered today on Sandymount Strand to bury their heads in the sand, signifying what the organisers say is the government’s attitude towards climate change. Stop Climate Chaos, the coalition behind the event, says that with just months to go until major global climate talks, the lack of government action on climate change is of serious concern.
Commenting, spokesperson for the coalition Sorley McCaughey, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Christian Aid, said:
“The government have their heads in the sand on climate change. They promised to pass the Climate Bill into law before the summer recess but it is yet to happen. We currently have no action plan to address Ireland’s rising emissions, despite being among the worst in Europe when it comes to climate change emissions. And despite an embarrassing episode at the climate talks in Peru last December, where Ireland was one of only two developed countries not to pledge financial assistance to the Green Climate Fund, a fund which supports countries worst affected by climate change impacts, we still have made no financial commitment to the fund.”
Continuing, Mr McCaughey said:
“All of this points to a serious lack of urgency on the part of the government. Failing to take action is resulting in the poorest communities in the world, who have done least to cause climate change, being hit the hardest, as was emphasised in the recent Encyclical by Pope Francis.”
“This inaction is in contrast to the speed at which policy is developed in other areas, for example the agri-food sector, where the latest strategy, which allows for damaging increases in agricultural emissions, was developed in eight months and comes five years ahead of the expiration of the current Food Harvest 2020 plan. On the same day as the new plan for agricultural expansion was launched the government announced that they will not have to produce a new climate action plan until 2017, five years after the last plan expired.”
“If the same eagerness was applied to climate policy we could by now be availing of the economic, environmental and social benefits of transitioning to a low carbon future. Instead, we risk significant fines for missing EU targets as well as considerable reputational damage in view of the international climate negotiations in Paris at the end of this year."
The government have their Heads in the Sand on climate change
Our government aren’t taking climate change seriously. We’re only 5 months away from major climate talks that will decide the future of global climate action.
Yet the government are about to bring forward a Climate law that doesn’t even set a target for emission reductions by 2050. They have no action plan for how to tackle Ireland's emissions and they have made no financial pledge to help support communities worst affected by climate change impacts.
It's clear that this government have their heads in the sand on climate change and we want everyone to know about it!
Join us for a mass photo stunt to highlight the inaction of our government on the most urgent challenge facing the world
Saturday 4th July 11.00 Sandymount Strand (here by the car park nearest city centre)
Bring your family, friends, buckets and spades (and sunscreen and towel!) and help us to get the message out that the time for action is now!
Government Climate Bill will fail unless critical weaknesses addressed
5 May 2015
The Government's Climate Bill "will fail to deliver the low carbon future its aims to achieve unless critical weaknesses are addressed", according to independent analysis carried out by an international environmental law organisation. ClientEarth compared the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill against climate legislation around Europe. Their report finds that the lack of a 2050 target for reducing emissions produces critical uncertainty for investors and the status and membership of the Expert Advisory Council undermines its independence. Unless revised at Committee Stage in the Dáil, due this month, the Bill will do little to help Ireland meet its international commitments or move the economy onto a less polluting pathway.
Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of 28 civil society organisations, commissioned the independent analysis. Commenting, Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland and member of Stop Climate Chaos, said:
“This report should set alarm bells ringing across Government. ClientEarth is the most recent addition to a long line of experts, including government backbenchers and a cross-party committee, to point out the shortcomings of the Bill. The report’s main conclusion is that unless the Bill is revised it will do little to address the fact that Ireland is already struggling to meet its climate commitments.
"If the Government does not act on this advice and make the necessary amendments to the Bill it will be clear to all that they are not serious about tackling climate change and moving Ireland towards a decarbonised society. And despite the Government's often declared commitment to climate justice the Taoiseach would be going to the Climate Summit in Paris in December with a weak climate law with no targets.”
Drawing on a number of climate laws across Europe, the report highlights the gap between what is proposed in the Irish Climate Bill and examples of best practice. Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, said:
“The report shines a light on how poorly the Irish Bill compares to climate laws being designed and passed across Europe. As recently as March Finland passed a Bill that sets a legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990) and creates an independent expert committee to advise the Government in planning climate change strategy. The Irish Climate Bill does neither. But we don’t even need to look outside of Ireland for examples of best practice when it comes to providing government with expert independence advice. The Fiscal Advisory Council is a model that could and should be replicated in the Irish Climate Bill."
Jonathan Church, energy lawyer at ClientEarth and one of the authors of the report, said:
“This Bill is a golden opportunity for Ireland to encourage renewable energy investors by setting long-term, legally binding national targets which support the EU’s targets. It doesn't do this. Furthermore, the UK experience has shown that a climate change committee needs to be independent of Government if it’s to do its job properly. As things stand, the Expert Advisory Council doesn't look independent, and that alone will handicap it from the start. Unless these critical weaknesses are addressed the Bill will fail to deliver the low-carbon future it aims to achieve. Indeed, if this half-hearted Bill gives the false impression of 'job done', it could end up doing more harm than good to Ireland’s efforts to tackle climate change.”
The independent report comes a day before CEOs from Stop Climate Chaos member organisations are due to meet Minister Kelly to discuss the weakness of the Bill and the need to amend it at the Committee stage in the Dáil later this month.