People Before Profit TD will move the third stage of the Climate Emergency Bill this week. It will make Ireland the sixth country in the world to leave fossil fuels in the ground. It outlaws the granting of new licences for the exploration of oil and gas.
Those who want to support the Bill should assemble outside the Dail this Tuesday at 6pm on March 26th.
The Bill has faced huge opposition from Fine Gael. Instead of the normal procedure of scrutinising it with a Dail committee, they handed over to a committee which included unelected senators. This, however, has failed.
‘Leave it in the ground’ has become a major slogan of the global climate movement and involves a major assault on the power of the fossil fuel industry.
Fine Gael act as agents for this industry and want instead to put the focus onto carbon taxes. Such taxes hurt the living standards of working people because it is far harder for a poorer family to get the necessary money to make the switch away from fossil fuels
Ireland is the worst offender in Europe for breaching climate targets. We need political change to switch to renewable energy.
At the moment, just 29% of Irish electricity comes from renewable sources. Despite a report from the ESB as early 2004, successive governments including Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and the Green Party have relied on the private market to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. They all support a special subsidy – raised though a levy on electricity bills – to support private companies entering the market. But it has not worked.
The energy Minister Richard Burton says he now wants to run a poster campaign to meet a target of 70% electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
This is just a gimmick. We need real action such as a national house insulation programme; investment in wind, tidal and wave power; and moves towards a district heating.
Private corporations will not undertake this type of investment because there are few short term profits. It will require a state led programme – and FG and FF are ideologically opposed to this even if our planet is burning.
That is why we need to break their grip on Irish politics.