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Irish parliament set to vote for Bill to end new licences for oil and gas drilling

Government risks being left behind as parties come together to support climate action

February 7 2018, 02:38pm

As the Dáil prepares to debate the Climate Emergency Measures Bill this afternoon, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has called on the Government to join the cross-party consensus to support the Bill. Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein, Labour, the Greens and the Social Democrats have all said they will support the Solidarity / People Before Profit Bill, which would end the issuing of new licences for the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels in Ireland, onshore and offshore. Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of aid agencies and environmental, youth and faith groups, demonstrated their support for the Bill outside the Dáil at 1pm today. 

Commenting, Jerry Mac Evilly, Policy Coordinator for Stop Climate Chaos said 

"If we are serious about meeting the Paris climate goals, at most we can burn just one third of existing fossil fuel reserves. If we can't afford to burn them what's the point in drilling for them?
"Our research shows that Ireland's energy security does not depend on locking-in more gas and oil. In fact, we are far better off investing in local renewables and warmer homes that use less fuel." 

Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth added: 

"The Government's attitude seems to be 'we know we have to stop burning them but let's just find as much oil and gas as possible first'. It's like stockpiling chocolate just before you give it up for lent.
"Ireland was one of the first countries to ban fracking. This is a chance to take another step towards leadership on the path to a fossil free future. We know the Taoiseach would like to seen as the Irish Macron. Well France have already taken this step. Today Leo has a choice, back the Bill or get left behind"  

Cliona Sharkey, Policy Advisor with Trócaire, said: 

"The impacts of climate change are being felt increasingly in Ireland and in the countries Trocaire is working the impacts are already at crisis levels.  In East Africa today, persistent drought is devastating millions of lives. The poorest countries in the world are being hit hardest. Climate change is rolling back decades of progress in efforts to eliminate extreme poverty". 

The second stage debate on the Climate Emergency Measures Bill starts at 3.35pm in the Dáil and runs for two hours. If the Government opposes it and forces a vote, the vote will be Thursday lunchtime. If the Government doesn't oppose it it will pass second stage today and be referred to Committee for "detailed scrutiny". 

Notes 

1. Details of the Bill are here: http://bit.ly/CEMBill18 

2. The Stop Climate Chaos brieifing on the Bill and the issues it addresses are here: http://bit.ly/SCC010218 

3. Over 2,000 people have written to their local TDs in the last week asking them to support the Bill. The pivotal breakthrough came on Tuesday evening when Timmy Dooley tweeted that Fianna Fail would be supporting the Bill, joining all the other opposition parties.