On February 7th, Brid Smith will introduce the Climate Emergency Measures Bill in the Dail. The bill will stop any new exploration for oil coal or gas in Ireland. If passed it would make Ireland only the third country globally to take such a measure.
Keep up to date with the progress of the bill and look at other info on climate on our Climate Blog >>>
Why this Bill is urgently needed;
Globally, we are failing to deal with climate change. Despite knowing the consequences and despite knowing that the science behind the issue is settled, we continue to pump historic amounts of Co2 and other Greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The people who are suffering and who will suffer most from this are the poorest across the globe and ordinary people here in Ireland. Climate change is driving more extreme weather and is one reason we are witnessing large scale species extinctions.
We have the capacity to shift to renewable energies, to drastically cut our use of gas, oil and coal. We could invest massively in public transport and begin a massive programme of retro fitting homes to make them energy efficient.
Instead our Government is failing to reach targets to reduce Co2 levels and continues to put minimal investments into public transport or renewable energies.
Our agricultural policy, our transport policy and our energy policy all guarantee that we will fail to meet targets or take serious action on climate change.
This Bill is a chance to change that.
It would make Ireland only the third country worldwide to try to ban the exploration for new sources of fossil fuels.
This is the first step in taking on the giant corporations that profit from our continued dependence on fossil fuels.
What the Bill will do.
The Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Bill (Climate Emergency Measures) 2017 would stop the Government from issuing any new licences for the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels anywhere within the State.
It will put into law a rule that would stop companies exploring for new sources of fossil fuels while global atmospheric Co2 levels are above 350 parts per million (ppm).
Scientists believe that 350 ppm is the highest level of atmospheric Co2 concentration that can safely be permitted without running the risk of serious climate change. The current level is over 400 ppm and is driving catastrophic climate change with increased numbers of record breaking heatwaves, more intense storms and droughts and flooding globally. This level of atmospheric Co2 has never been seen in human history.
Last year, the Communications and Climate Action Minister, Dennis Naughton granted new licence’s to Providence resources to explore in the Druid/Dromberg exploration field off the Porcupine Bank. Providence’s largest shareholder is Tony O’Reilly Jun.
Providence originally claimed there could be over 5 billion barrels of oil in the field, amounting to about 1.5 billion tonnes of new Co2 emissions. Although they failed to find gas or oil they and other companies are determined to continue exploring, and the state is happy to facilitate them. Despite the failure at Porcupine, the state has extended another licence for Providence in the North Celtic Sea Basin which is around 50 km off the south coast of Ireland. Providence is also expected to begin exploration off the Kish Bank later this year.
Ireland’s total annual emissions of Co2 is about 60 million tonnes; so had Providence been successful in this exploration the find would have released the same amount as 25 years of the country’s annual emissions!
Scientists believe that 80% of already proved reserves of fossil fuels such as oil and gas must remain in the ground if humanity is to limit temperature rises to under 2 degrees Celsius.
Even a two degree rise would be catastrophic for much of the planet, its people and other species.
As a first step we must stop the insane system that allows companies to continue exploring for new sources of hydrocarbons; this bill will make Ireland only the third country globally to take that step after Cost Rica and France
Even though we know the consequences of continuing to emit Co2 from coal oil and gas, globally MORE Co2 was emitted last year than at any time in human history; this is despite a record growth in renewable energies. Why?
We believe it is the power and profits of the various fossil fuel corporations. Many of the world’s largest and most powerful companies are tied directly to fossil fuels. It is clear that they will not stop exploring and using oil or gas regardless of the consequences or how dramatic climate change becomes.
Globally, the fossil fuel industry continues to mine, drill and explore for even more sources of oil gas and coal. With the support of the Trump administration they are even trying to access the Arctic National wildlife refuge.
The IMF recently estimated that the industry receives around $5.3 trillion annually in direct and indirect subsidies, while the IEA estimate that the fossil fuel industry gets around $480 billion in direct subsidies from Governments and states around the world.
If we are to deal with climate change, we must take on the power of those who profit from fossil fuels globally. The first step is to end the exploration for new sources of oil, coal and gas. Then we must campaign for massive investment in renewable energies that are centred on local and micro generation. We need to make our homes Co2 neutral and energy efficient.