Time Is Running Out To Avert Catastrophic Climate Change

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Press Release- Message to Dáil committee today from two experts is renewables can replace fossil fuels, gas is part of the problem, not the solution; Time is running out to avert catastrophic climate change

Message to Dáil committee today from two experts is renewables can replace fossil fuels, gas is part of the problem, not the solution.

The Dáil Committee on Communications. Climate Action and Environment will hear from two experts and campaigners today in its last hearing on the Climate Emergency Measures Bill. The Bill from People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith would ban the exploration for fossil fuels in Ireland, making Ireland only the 5th country to do so globally.

Bríd Smith said today ahead of the hearing: “Time is running out to tackle climate change, we are rapidly eating into the carbon budget and with that into any hopes of limiting temperature increases to under two degrees in line with the Paris Treaty. The recent extraordinary extreme weather and temperatures across the northern hemisphere is an indication of what we can expect in the future. We need radical action and we need it now.”

Today’s Dáil committee will hear from two leading experts Paul Allen, project coordinator at Zero Carbon Britain, the flagship research project of the Centre for Advanced Technology and Greg Muttitt, the research director at Oil Change International and lead author of their report Off Track: The IEA and Climate Change.

Their message will be that renewables are a feasible alternative and can replace fossil fuels in the time needed to avert a two degree temperature rise. The committee will also hear that the idea of gas as a “bridging fuel” needs to be questioned, with some studies casting doubt on its ability to reduce emissions to the extent needed in the time needed.

Deputy Smith said she believes the bill will progress and a ban on future exploration licences will be enacted.

She stated: “In itself this is a pretty modest proposal, but it can have huge significance globally. It would send a message that the game is up for fossil fuels and that we need massive investments in renewables, in energy efficiency and in public transport.”

Greg Muttitt of Oil Change International said: “The Climate Emergency Measures Bill 2018 is a necessary step to avoid the most destructive impacts of climate change. Passing the Bill will place Ireland among the world’s climate leaders on this issue, along with countries like France, New Zealand and Costa Rica which have already stopped exploring for new oil and gas. If the world is to achieve the Paris climate goals, all new investments must be in clean energy, which is already cost-competitive with fossil fuels, is better for health and would create a larger number of jobs.”

Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology said: “We are pleased to be offering evidence to the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment) (Climate Emergency Measures) Bill 2018.

“Physical problems have physical solutions and no amount of talking will make them go away. This is not to say that talking is not important; it is essential. But it is best to get the physics right first.

“Virtually everybody agrees that rapid decarbonisation is the cornerstone of any solution to climate change, and we have adequate ways of measuring how much decarbonisation is required, plus how fast it is required. However, if we analyse these physical requirements and work out a physically credible plan based on our scientific knowledge of the situation, we find it does not fit comfortably into the frame of normal politics and economics.

“Our Zero Carbon Britain research shows that by making changes to our buildings, transport systems and behaviour, and by investing in a variety of renewable energy generation technologies suited to the UK, we can provide a reliable zero carbon energy supply without negatively impacting on quality of life. Smart demand management, plus the intelligent use of surplus electricity in combination with biomass to create carbon neutral synthetic gas and liquid fuels, mean that we can meet our entire energy demand without imports, and also provide for some transport and industrial processes that cannot run on electricity.”

Thomas Pringle TD, who’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill received cabinet approval recently, said: “I welcome [the bill] as we can no longer support Ireland’s contradictory stance on climate action. Exploration for new fossil fuel reserves is a rejection of Ireland’s climate change obligations and principles of climate justice. Ireland must take on its fair share of the burden of climate action. Passing this bill would help force Ireland to end this contradiction and take its commitments seriously.”