Report by “Global Witness” exposes over investment in oil and gas

24th April 2019
Press Release

An Tasice’s submission to Commission for Regulation of Utilities highlights Irelands investment lock in to unsustainable expansion of gas use.

In its report Overexposed [1] the international NGO Global Witness [2] has examined and the risks of overinvestment in oil and gas. [3]

The report states that:

“Overinvestment in oil and gas creates risks for investors, regardless of whether the world is effective in tackling climate change. Either investors face assets being stranded as demand for fossil fuels falls in a transition to a low carbon economy, or the overinvestment contributes to excess emissions from fossil fuels, the failure to transition and the financial costs of a dramatically changed climate.”

Read the blog, Big oil is set to spend $5 trillion on fossil fuels we can’t afford to burn. [4]

This applies entirely to Ireland.

There is a global ”carbon budget” which limits the amount of emissions that can be released into the atmosphere if the Paris Agreement target of stabilising global temperature to as near as possible to 1.5 degrees is to be met. The implementation of the Agreement requires that combined Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for each country meets this carbon budget, with the issue of aviation and shipping emissions unresolved. This requires immediate and rapid reduction of fossil fuel use with no expansion capacity.

The continuing role of the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment in licencing of offshore oil and gas exploration is the subject of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment ) (Climate Emergency Measures) Bill 2018 currently before the Oireachtas [5].

Equal attention needs to be given to the expansion the fossil gas network in Ireland by the State owned infrastructure Company Gas Networks Ireland (GNI), and the role of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) in accommodating this.

An Taisce has made a detailed submission on the ten year plan by GNI submitted to the CER [6]. This was in response to the Draft document on the CRU website [7].

GNI proposes to expand gas dependency including for heating systems for new homes, develop Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) infrastructure for transport, and seek to secure 20% content of agriculture sourced biomethane by 2030 to inject into an expanded gas pipeline system.

An Taisce has raised major concerns with the sustainable sourcing and production of biomethane, and the danger of lock into a new generation of heating systems and gas fuelled vehicles which will not meet the level of greenhouse gas emission reduction needed to meet Irelands carbon budget in the next decade.

Ian Lumley, An Taisce Advocacy Officer stated:

“This wasted investment which will become unusable or a “stranded asset” in the next decade and beyond, is impeding progress on more carbon efficient alternative technologies such as geothermal district heating systems, heat pumps for new and insulation enhanced retrofitted older homes and renewably power electric for transport”

See An Taisce policy on “Stranded Assets”[8]

ENDS

For further information, contact: Ian Lumley, Advocacy Officer, An Taisce: +353 1 454 1786 Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995 email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

Notes:

  1. Overexposed The article: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/oil-gas-and-mining/overexposed/
  2. Global Witness: https://www.globalwitness.org/en-gb/
  3. Download the full article https://www.globalwitness.org/documents/19708/Overexposed.pdf
  4. Read the blog, Big oil is set to spend $5 trillion on fossil fuels we can’t afford to burn https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/big-oil-set-to-spend-5-trillion/
  5. Submission on the ten year plan by GNI submitted to the CER http://www.antaisce.org/sites/antaisce.org/files/201902010cru-gnitydp.pdf
  6. Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment) (Climate Emergency Measures) Bill 2018: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] Dáil Éireann - 28 March 2019 https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/vote/dail/32/2019-03-28/63/
  7. GNI Network Development Plan draft document on the CRU website: https://www.cru.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CRU18269a-GNI-Network-Development-Plan-2018.pdf
  8. A Stranded Asset http://www.antaisce.org/sites/antaisce.org/files/a_stranded_asset.pdf

An Taisce - Protecting Ireland’s heritage, safeguarding its future

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.