Naughten 'Powering Past Coal’ a welcome start - Peat & unsustainable Biomass must go too

14th March 2018
Press Release

An Taisce welcomes Climate Action Minister, Denis Naughen’s renewed commitment to ‘Power Past Coal’ by ending all coal burning at the Moneypoint power station by 2025 [1]

However, what Minister Naughten also needs to urgently commit to is to ‘Power Past Peat’ and put an end to the three inefficient, highly polluting and ecologically disastrous peat-fired power plants operated by Bord Na Mona and the ESB.

Mr Naughten’s statement in Canada this week that Ireland is joining the ‘Powering Past Coal Alliance’ also leaves the question hanging in the air: what does Ireland intend to replace the large coal-burning Moneypoint facility with? His Canadian counterpart, Catherine McKenna correctly says that stopping coal-burning “reduces carbon pollution and provides huge human health benefits”.

However, both the carbon and human health benefits will be quickly lost if, for instance, Moneypoint is converted to biomass, leading to the import of millions of tons of newly felled trees from forests in the south eastern US states (as the giant Drax facility in the UK does today).

Similarly, Bord Na Mona’s longer term plans to ‘transition’ towards biomass co-burning with peat need to be treated with extreme scepticism.

To have any chance of achieving Paris targets and keeping below a 1.5°C temperature rise we must get out of fossil fuels altogether.

Let’s hope that this is the Minister’s first step towards “Powering Past Fossil Fuels”.

ENDS

For further information, contact:
John Gibbons, An Taisce Climate Change Committee: +353 87 233 2689
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Notes
[1] Minister Denis Naughten announces Ireland to join Powering Past Coal Alliance https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/news-and-media/press-releases/Pages/-Minister-Denis-Naughten-announces-Ireland-to-join-Powering-Past-Coal-Alliance.aspx

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.