An Taisce June 2015 eZine

1st June 2015

Visit to Butlerstown Castle

Local Association Event
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Butlerstown Castle

OUTING SATURDAY 6 JUNE 2 - 6 PM

Wexford branch of An Taisce is organising a visit to Butlerstown Castle by kind permission of Mrs Helen Skrine and to Bargy Castle by kind permission of Mrs Maeve Davison. Tea will be provided afterwards. The charge will be €5 per head.

Directions to Butlerstown Castle : Going South on the N25 towards Rosslare, turn right onto the R739 . After 8 km left onto the R736. After 2.2 km you will see a cream and white gate lodge which is Butlerstown.

Members are welcome to bring guests.

Please let me know if you would like to join us at wexford@antaisce.org.

Foraging and Using Seaweed, Kilcar, June 6th @ 1 p.m.

Local Association Event
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Algaran, Cashling, Kilcar on R 263 (Killybegs-Carrick road, 2 km east of Carrick

Guided foraging session (c 2 hours) on Muckross Beach, Kilcar, followed by a cookery demonstration in the Aislann Cenre. Rediscover the many types and uses of seaweed. Wear wellingtons or other waterproof footwear. Foraging includes sloshing through wet seaweed! All relevant licenses have been obtained. Guide Rosaria Piseri

Free bus transfers.

Wear wellingtons or other waterproof footwear for foraging in wet seaweed.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
free
Cost Non Members: 
free

An Taisce Green Communities Herbal Workshop

Joint Event
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, Liberties, Dublin 8.

What: This interactive workshop provides a practical introduction to the Identification, harvesting, drying and processing of some of our common herbs. We are surrounded by native herbs or 'weeds' which nurture, heal and strengthen us. Most of these are available to us free of cost and many grow in our community gardens, local woodlands and our own backyards. When: Saturday 6th of June 2015, 12 pm to 3 pm (approximately). Where: Bridgefoot Street Community Garden, Liberties, Dublin 8.

Overview: Susan Wittig Albert once wrote 'one persons weed is another persons wildflower'. Depending on where or how a plant grows can, in many cases, determine how we see it, how we view its place in our world. The 'tidying up' of roadside verges, field margins, parklands & gardens in recent years has seen a great reduction in weedy vegetation.

Please join Botanist & Herbalist, Deborah Tiernan, for an afternoon of exploration & wild-crafting at Bridgefoot Street Gardens on Saturday June 6th. We will look at some of our very common herbs, including Dandelion & Nettle, and investigate their health benefits. We will make herbal teas & natural home care sprays. There will even be some herbal wine - reputed as an aphrodisiac!! It promises to be a fun few hours! Bring a pen & some paper if you feel like you might want to take notes.

Bring suitable outdoor clothing! If you have any questions or wish to book a place then please contact Robert Moss on 01 4002212 or email rmoss@eeu.antaisce.org

Cost An Taisce Members: 
N/A
Cost Non Members: 
N/A

Hedgerow Foraging, New Mills, Letterkenny, Co DL, June 9th @ 7 p.m.

Local Association Event
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Dooen Glebe, New Mills, Letterkenny

Guided Walk, Hedgerow Foraging. Guided by Gaby Wieland of Neantog, Cliffoney and the Organic Centre, Rossinver.

Food and health from the hedgerow.
There will be tastings of a "green smoothie" and "wild herb pesto" after the walk.

Also discussion of the Battle of Scariffholis and of the surrounding landscape.

Directions: Off the R250 (Letterkenny – Dunglow road). 5km from Letterkenny.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
free
Cost Non Members: 
free

Environmental Courts, Enforcement, Judicial Review & Appeals: Exploring the Options for Ireland

Independent Event
Friday, June 19, 2015
Brookfield Health Sciences Complex University College Cork, School of Law Conference

Save the Date Friday, 19 June 2015, 2-6pm Brookfield Health Sciences Complex University College Cork, School of Law Conference

This conference will examine the potential for a specialist environmental court in Ireland. The overall goal is to consider appropriate institutional mechanisms to provide effective oversight and to improve the quality of environmental decision-making. Many jurisdictions have recognised the value of expert institutions to resolve complex and often technical disputes in the environmental field. The conference aims to explore the various issues and challenges arising in the Irish context and to provide a forum for exchange of knowledge and informed discussion among interested parties.

The event is open to all and is free of charge, although advance registration will be required. A full programme, booking arrangements and further details will be circulated shortly and will be posted on the School of Law website: http://www.ucc.ie/en/lawsite/

This event is part of a larger research project Strengthening Environmental Decision-making: Law, Technical Evidence & Institutional Design, funded by an Irish Research Council New Foundations Grant 2014.

Confirmed contributors:
The Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Supreme Court of Ireland & Adjunct Professor, School of Law, UCC
The Hon Judge Merideth Wright, former Presiding Judge, Vermont Environmental Court
Judge Anthony M Collins, General Court of the European Union & Adjunct Professor, School of Law, UCC
Dr Mary Kelly, Chairperson, An Bord Pleanála
Áine Ryall, School of Law, UCC

Conference Convenor: Áine Ryall Twitter: @EnvJusticeUCC

North Tipperary Association - Outing to Sean O'Farrell's Organic Farm

Local Association Event
Friday, June 19, 2015

For your diary - details later

Guided Walk, Sheskinmore, Rosbeg, Co DL, June 20th @ 11 a.m.

Local Association Event
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Tramore Beach carpark next to Campbells caravan park, Rosbeg.

A leisurely guided walk( c 4 hours) through this network of wetland, reedbed, machair and dunes. Duration: Approx 4 hours. Bring a packed lunch and beverage. Guide: Ralph Sheppard.

Directions: Follow the “Rosbeg” sign off the R261 Ardara-Portnoo-road. Drive for about 4km and pass Kiltooris Lough, take the next left signed Campbells Caravan Park.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
free
Cost Non Members: 
free

New report confirms fatal flaws in Ireland’s proposed Climate Bill – An Taisce

4th May 2015
Press Release

Embargoed to 00:01am 5th. May 2015

The Government’s Climate Bill now going through the Oireachtas is deeply deficient compared to climate legislation already passed by other European nations. The recent independent analysis by ClientEarth, a London-based international environmental law firm, shows that the proposed legislation is politically compromised, legally ineffective and unlikely to aid in delivering any substantive climate action beyond bare compliance with EU targets.

As it stands, An Taisce considers the Climate Bill to be a worthless ‘Greenwash’, giving a misleading appearance of action but in fact failing to give any assurance of intent to actually deliver the necessary year-on-year reductions in total national greenhouse gas emissions. Contrary to Government rhetoric, Ireland is already falling far short of its EU 2020 emissions and renewables targets, and Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency projects ever-increasing emissions, especially from transport and agriculture, directly due to Government policy.

The ClientEarth report details “critical weaknesses” of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, showing that it still needs:

  • Binding targets to 2050 with five-year plans that would direct continuous action on climate change, ensure future economic resilience and provide investment certainty.
  • An Expert Advisory Council that is truly independent of Government to resist short-term political pressures and deliver science-based national carbon budgets in line with emission reduction toward long-term targets.
  • Legal strength from regulation and penalties to ensure that binding targets, Expert Advisory Council advice and mitigation plans, are actually followed. (Otherwise what is the point of having legislation?)

As part of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition that commissioned this independent analysis, An Taisce fully endorses the damning conclusions of the ClientEarth report and further notes that the Government’s Climate Bill is entirely at odds with Ireland’s internationally stated commitment to act in accord with science and equity to limit global warming to +2°C and deliver climate justice for the poorest and most vulnerable.

The UN-mandated climate science expert advisory (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC) have stated unequivocally that “limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”. Instead, and despite empty rhetoric to the contrary, current Government policy promotes uncontrolled increases in total greenhouse gas emissions on Ireland’s part. The proposed legislation does nothing to ensure that this reckless course will be reversed. The Climate Bill fails even to endorse the Government’s own National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development thereby indicating that there is no sincere intent to deliver any substantial reductions in Ireland’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

For An Taisce’s Climate Change Committee, Barry McMullin said:

“As it stands, the Government’s climate legislation entirely fails to make certain that government departments will collectively deliver the necessary year-on-year cuts in total emissions that are critical to climate action needed to avoid irreversible dangerous climate disruption.

The ClientEarth report further supports our call for strong, reality-based amendments to the Bill as Stop Climate Chaos has repeatedly and clearly set out. We have to start cutting our annual national greenhouse emissions now to achieve a low carbon economy rapidly and to limit the very long-term climate damages that we are collectively causing by our current emissions.”

Amendments to the Bill are urgently needed now that the Bill has reached Committee stage; and these must be substantive and meaningful rather than a continuation of the cosmetic greenwashing indulged in to date. If such amendments are not forthcoming then An Taisce will be forced - most reluctantly - to call for outright rejection of both the Bill and the flawed Advisory Committee it creates; a Committee which appears likely - by design - to bow to short-term, political, departmental and vested interests.

We urge the Government to realise the vital importance of binding, progressive, year on year targets, advisory independence, and legal force so that it can deliver the worthwhile climate legislation it originally promised. An Taisce calls on all members of the Oireachtas to take this opportunity to produce a Climate Bill that will actually drive decarbonisation, encourage low-carbon investment and produce long-term benefits for future generations. It can be done – but only through political leadership based on tough but honest assessment of an implacable physical reality. Even at this belated eleventh hour, the Irish people surely deserve no less.

ENDS For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.ie

NOTES:

  1. ClientEarth's report - European Lessons for Ireland's Climate Law https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxEVOTzgFnKEVjhpRVptbVNHYXM/view?usp=sharing

An Taisce's Proposal for Securing and Managing Russborough House and the Alfred Beit Collection

9th May 2015
Press Release

The proposal by The Alfred Beit Foundation to sell a significant part of the Beit picture collection on the international market would be an unacceptable loss to Irish cultural patrimony and should be abandoned. An Taisce believes The Foundation is failing in its responsibility towards the legacy with which it has been entrusted by disposing of a major part of the internationally significant Beit collection.

An Taisce is seeking the intervention of Government and all organisations concerned with culture, heritage and tourism in Ireland to achieve a partnership solution to secure the future of the entire Beit collection in Ireland. This solution should extend to the maintenance and management of Russborough House and demesne.

On the 30th April 2015, Christies and The Alfred Beit Foundation made a joint announcement on a proposed auction on July 7th, 2015 in London and pre-sale tour promotion to New York and Hong Kong [Note 2]. The estimated value of the collection of painting is €10m but they may realise up to €20m on the day, given their provenance and quality [Note 3].

These paintings represent a significant part of the collection of paintings formed by the Beit family from the late 19th Century. While the major works were presented to the National Gallery of Ireland by the late Sir Alfred Beit, the remaining collection, along with Rusborough, was bequeathed to The Alfred Beit Foundation (ABF), which was established in 1976 with a board of trustees. The sale of 350 acres of land at Russborough was used to provide an endowment of almost £400,000 c.1978 which in today’s value amounts to almost £3 million. The Beit Foundation is currently operating at an annual loss of €300,000 (2013).

This sale is justified to fund works to the 18th century house at Russborough and create an endowment for the maintenance of the buildings, gardens and grounds.

The Alfred Beit Foundation has previously sold off a collection of sculptures in 2006 and china in 2013 to raise funds for the maintenance of Russborough, already establishing an unsustainable pattern of asset diminishment, without providing any future security for the collection or the property.

No costing has been made available on the capital works said to be needed to the house, on which extensive work has already been carried out in recent years, much of it with public funds. Indeed paintings and furniture from the Milltown bequest, originally from Russborough, to the National Gallery of Ireland are currently lent for display in the house, which is clearly considered in a fit condition to receive them.

The level of visitor receipts and other income generated by Russborough against annual costs has been a continual difficulty for the Foundation. However this is no way justifies the sale of the core part of the Beit collection held by the Foundation. The selling off of one part of a cultural endowment to pay for the maintenance or management of another is not a credible policy.

This unsustainable approach is obvious from the millions raised in previous sales from the collection within the last ten years (fourteen items of oriental ceramics were sold for 1.2 million euro as recently as November 2013 and in 2006 a collection of Italian bronzes were sold for 3.8 million). Given this trend, it seems inevitable that further sales of the contents will result.

It is also unfortunate that if the threatened sale proceeds, most of the works are likely to pass to buyers across the world.

An Taisce is seeking a partnership solution to secure the future of the entire Beit collection in Ireland which would [Note 4]:

  1. Permanently secure the paintings and other objects held by the Alfred Beit Foundation as part of Ireland’s cultural patrimony. All of the paintings and other objects and collections held by the ABF in trusteeship should be placed either on display in Russborough, or in the case of the two smaller Rubens pictures included in the proposed sale, placed on permanent loan with the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI).
  2. Set up a new partnership for the appropriate long-term maintenance and management of Russborough house and demesne, between the Alfred Beit Foundation (ABF), National Gallery Ireland and Irish Heritage Trust.

The current proposed sale of paintings significantly undermines this legacy and needs to be halted. An Taisce has placed Russborough and its historic Beit collection as the premier site on its buildings at risk watch list. (http://www.antaisce.org/issues/buildings-at-risk)

Russborough and its historic collections is one of Ireland's great cultural legacies. We must take urgent action to retain these paintings for the Nation.

ENDS For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

NOTES:

  1. Russborough House has been the source of two great public bequests of art. The first, the Milltown collection, was gifted by the Countess of Milltown to the National Gallery of Ireland and the second by Sir Alfred and Lady Beit through the Alfred Beit Foundation, which included Russborough House itself.
  2. Announcement of the sale http://www.christies.com/about/press-center/releases/pressrelease.aspx?pressreleaseid=7887
  3. This outlines the works to be sold as follows: "The group of paintings that will be auctioned is led by two magnificent works on panel by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Head of a bearded man (estimate: £2-3 million) and Venus and Jupiter (estimate: £1.2-1.8 million). The group also includes one of the most celebrated Kermesse scenes by David Teniers the Younger (estimate: £1.2-1.8 million), a rare religious work by Adriaen van Ostade, Adoration of the Shepherds (estimate: £600,000-800,000), and a pair of Venetian views by Francesco Guardi (estimate: £300,000-500,000). A selection of highlights from the group will go on view in pre-sale exhibitions at Christie’s in New York from 2 May to 12 May, followed by London (28 May to 1 June), Hong Kong (28 May to 1 June) and London in June and July."
  4. Partnership Solution:

In view of the historic relationship between Russborough and NGI, as the recipients firstly of the Milltown bequest of paintings and furnishings from the house in the early 20th Century and later of the Beit bequest, there is a major case for establishing the formal involvement of the NGI in Russborough. There are examples of this in Britain where national cultural institutions partner with other trusts, such as that between the National Portrait Gallery and The National Trust at Beningborough in Yorkshire.

Such a proposal would see the NGI entering in long term legal agreement with the ABF to provide for maintenance and management of the centre block at Russborough creating a formal partnership between NGI, ABF and Russborough.

Apart from securing the future of the centre block for the display of the Beit legacy, this would also allow the major part of the Milltown collection originally housed at Russborough, and not forming part of the NGI core exhibition, to return to the house while remaining in the full custodianship of the Gallery.

This would require an increase in the annual operating budget of the NGI, to include the curatorial maintenance and management of the central block of Russborough. However, this would also be a fitting acknowledgment by the State of the Milltown and Beit bequests.

The Alfred Beit foundation has already leased the walled garden to the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland, who are carrying out a restoration project which secures its maintenance and allows for visitor access.

Parallel to this, it is proposed that The Irish Heritage Trust could be invited to take on the long term management of the remainder of the buildings and demesne and manage and promote it as a major visitor attraction.

An Taisce and environmental groups across Europe join forces as European Commission threatens vital nature laws

13th May 2015
Press Release

Over 90 environmental NGOs across Europe have launched a joint online action to save European nature from European Commission President Juncker’s deregulation agenda.

An internet action called Nature Alert [1] will allow the public in Ireland and citizens across the EU to participate in the European Commission's public consultation and, by doing so, save the laws that protect nature in Ireland and Europe. The International NGOs BirdLife, the European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe and WWF are leading the campaign and e-action. An Taisce is a member of the European Environmental Bureau.

The e-action marks the beginning of a pan-European, multi-annual campaign to stop any threats to current nature protection efforts and to obtain better implementation and enforcement of Europe’s nature laws. More than 90 environmental organisations have joined forces to mobilise members, supporters and the general public to tell the Commission that they want Europe’s nature laws to be maintained, better implemented and enforced.

Europe’s nature laws (the Birds and Habitats Directives) are recognised as some of the strongest in the world to protect animals, plants and habitats from extinction. Thanks to these laws, Europe now has the world’s biggest network of protected areas, Natura 2000, covering about one fifth of Europe’s land and 4% of its marine sites.

The European Commission has decided to carry out an in-depth evaluation of both laws to determine whether they are effective in protecting our natural world [2]. This process is happening in a context that is clearly hostile to nature conservation, as illustrated by European Commission President’s Juncker rhetoric on ‘business-friendly’ laws and cutting ‘green tape’.

The NGO internet action allows citizens to take part in the public consultation until 24 July 2015 - this consultation is the only opportunity for the public to express their views during this technical evaluation.

Andrew Jackson, Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce, comments: “We consider this our most important nature conservation campaign in decades. This is a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that European and Irish rules on wildlife protection are not weakened. An Taisce would urge all those who love wildlife and our most valued natural places to add their voice to this important campaign. We must act now and in large numbers to show that we want these laws to be maintained and enforced, not weakened.”

According to Angelo Caserta, Director of BirdLife Europe: “We have tons of scientific evidence showing that these laws work, when implemented. And numerous examples that these laws are no obstacles to any good economic development. So, my question to President Juncker and VP Timmermans is simple: with all there is to do in Europe, why undo nature laws?”

Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office said: “WWF has been fighting for over 30 years to make sure Europe has comprehensive laws for the protection of nature which set a world standard. We are not prepared to stand by and let this legacy be wasted. No one will benefit from turning back the clock on Europe’s nature laws, not the natural world itself nor we as humans who depend on it for our livelihoods. Now begins a popular appeal to keep nature alive.”

According to Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau: “The European Commission’s current fixation with deregulation and cutting so-called ‘red tape’ is blinding it to the effective solutions for endangered habitats and species. Instead of threatening to unpick these laws, the European Commission and member states should put more effort into implementing them, and make sure they deliver the enormous benefits they can bring to nature as well as to us and our economy”.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "We all have a right to nature – and chipping away at vital laws that help protect it would be a disaster for European citizens and the nature we love. We are mobilising people across the EU and will make our voices loud and clear – our nature is not up for grabs and we expect our politicians to protect it for all of us and for future generations.”

Andrew Jackson, Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce, continued his appeal: “You can find the link to take part in the campaign on the front page of our website. Please follow us on Facebook or Twitter as AnTaisce.”

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
http://www.antaisce.org

NOTES:

[1] The NGO e-action will take place on the following websites, amongst others:

[2] The EU Commission’s Public Consultation is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/nature_fitness_check_en.htm

[3] More information on the legal review process of the Birds and Habitats Directives:

  • Fitness Check - The European Commission is currently carrying out an in-depth evaluation of Nature laws, a so called Fitness Check as part of its broader REFIT agenda, assessing whether these laws are “fit for purpose”. This means assessing if, as they are, they contribute in an efficient and coherent manner to the objective of protecting the species and habitats of European importance.
  • Review Process: If at the end of this evaluation (by June 2016) the European Commission decides that the Directives are “not fit for purpose”, it may start a review process, assessing possible options for changing these laws, including (environmental, economic, administrative, social) impacts of such changes. They could opt for business-as-usual and keep them as they are, or decide to merge them into one single piece of legislation, to change only the Annexes (list of species/habitats), or to keep them as they are but proposing some non-legally binding instruments.
  • Revision process: If at the end of this the European Commission decides that the laws need to be changed, it would propose a revision of these laws. This new proposal for revised Directives would then be discussed and negotiated by the Council of EU Ministers (Member States) and the European Parliament. It can take a few years before the laws are agreed between and adopted by the Council and the Parliament.

An Taisce Submission on Shannon Cycle Bridge

20th May 2015
Submission Summary

Please see the attached document for An Taisce's submission on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Document regarding the Shannon River Crossing in Athlone.

Download PDF: 
Download PDF (577.92 KB)

Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI) Report 2015 Pre-Consultation

20th May 2015
Submission Summary

Please see the attached document for An Taisce's pre-consultation submission on the Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI) Report 2015.

Download PDF: 
Download PDF (394.52 KB)

An Taisce calls on TDs to propose amendments to the weak Climate Action Bill

2nd June 2015
Press Release

In the face of figures from the EPA that show we are unlikely to meet our Climate Change Targets and Ban Ki-moon’s call for ‘Ireland to do more to curb Climate Change’ An Taisce is calling upon TDs to put forward amendments to strengthen the Climate Action Bill.

The Climate Action Bill currently going through the Oireachtas is weakly drafted, fails to ensure existing targets are met and further delays meaningful action. The Bill is now scheduled for Committee stage on Tuesday 9th June. An Taisce and other NGOs involved in ‘Stop Climate Chaos (SCC)’ are calling on all TDs to put forward a series of amendments to ensure the Bill contains legally enforceable targets.

An Taisce fully supports the SCC campaign for amendments, and believes that, due to the scale and urgency of the action required, the Bill should go much further and include a hard mitigation pathway commitment - i.e. an explicit quantitative claim on the dwindling global cumulative carbon budget. Further, it should include an explicit acknowledgement and policy measures to ensure that the bulk of remaining fossil hydrocarbons are left in the ground.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released updated greenhouse gas emission figures [Ref 1&2] clearly showing that current Government policies are committing Ireland to a dangerous high emissions future and are manifestly failing to chart a low carbon pathway for Ireland. The EPA gives ‘worst case’ and ‘best case’ figures but An Taisce see little likelihood that we will do much better than the worst case projections, which show that Ireland will miss its 2020 target by 11 percentage points.

The new EPA Projections report states:

Ireland is not on track towards decarbonising the economy in the long term in line with the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 and will face steep challenges post-2020 unless further polices and measures are put in place over and above those envisaged between now and 2020.

Speaking for An Taisce, Charles Stanley Smith said:

For the period 2013 to 2020 Ireland, as part of the EU, has agreed to make legally binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions but these EPA figures show that this Government has failed to apply the measures necessary to achieve any overall cuts at all over this period, let alone the cuts actually required.

In fact emissions rates from Ireland will increase ever more rapidly toward 2020 and beyond – seriously endangering efforts to meet the new and more challenging EU targets that will be set for 2030.

Inadequate climate policy is increasing risks to the Irish economy, imposing impossible policy choices on future Governments and increasing Ireland’s national responsibility for global climate change.

An Taisce urge all political leaders in Ireland to address the critical and dangerous climate change challenge to our future economic and personal well-being as a matter of national priority. The best international advice, agreed with by Ireland’s own international declarations, says that cutting total emissions year-on-year starting now is by far the least costly course.

A better Climate Bill is needed and is still possible but we need to act quickly.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
John Gibbons, Climate Change Committee, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2332689
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

NOTES:

  1. Stop Climate Chaos proposed amendments
  2. Looking at key sectors for the period from 2013 to 2020: Energy emissions will rise by 11%, agriculture by over 2% and transport by a shocking 19%. Only in the built sectors are some reductions being made. All of these areas are directly affected by government policy but the EPA figures clearly show that government policy is entirely failing to cut emissions from the key sectors:
  3. In the Energy sector, climate policy realities require very rapid decarbonisation of electricity generation, yet policy is failing to plan definite shutdowns of peat and coal and peat generators. Targets for renewables such as wind and solar are very likely to be missed. The continued burning of dirty domestic peat and imported coal for power, despite the known, severe economic costs due to health and climate impacts, is misguided and unacceptable.
  4. Agricultural emissions are high due to large numbers of beef and dairy cattle and will increase due to a projected huge expansion of the dairy sector, overall producing increased emissions of methane and nitrous oxide (both potent greenhouse gases). Despite being largely for exported production, Ireland is responsible for these increased emissions from agriculture. [Ref 3]
  5. Transport emission increases reflect a complete failure to achieve sustainable transport policy targets, which are now largely ignored by national government. The ongoing failure of dispersed planning requires roads and services to commuter settlements and one-off rural houses [Ref 4]. Further poor planning and more roads increasing fossil fuel dependency appear to be set government policy.
  6. Since Government entirely failed to divide the overall 2020 target reductions among individual sectors according to achievability, it can only be assumed that all sectors, including agriculture and transport, have a target of reducing their emissions by 20% by 2020 relative to 2005. Neither agriculture nor transport, were given a waiver from achieving a 20% reduction.
  7. Currently, the Departments responsible for agriculture and transport mistakenly appear to think that maintaining emissions at 2005 levels is enough to count toward for mitigation action. This view is completely unfounded. Far more serious policy aimed at real achievement of immediate cuts starting now is required.
  8. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, states: “Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”. Ireland has signed agreements committing to emission cuts in accord with science and equity, in line with limiting global surface warming to 2ºC, but these cuts are not being achieved.

REFERENCES:

  1. EPA (2015) Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2014-2035
  2. EPA (2015) Emission Projections 2014-2035 press release
  3. An Taisce (2015) Response to the DAFM Mitigation document
  4. An Taisce (2015) Principles for Sustainable Rural Settlement
  5. An Taisce (2015) National Roads Authority crashing into climate policy

This could be our last chance to fix the Climate Bill

3rd June 2015
Report

In less than a week's time the Climate Bill will go through another crucial stage in the Dáil. This is make or break.... It could be the last chance we have to fix the Bill before it becomes law. Tell Minister Alan Kelly you want to see the amendments he promised now .

The Minister has told the Dáil he is considering possible amendments to the Bill. We need to make sure the changes he makes are the right ones, by clearly indicating how much we plan to reduce emissions by 2050, by ensuring that the independence of the Expert Advisory Council is explicitly guaranteed and by committing to climate justice as a guiding principle.

Last week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Ireland to do more to tackle climate change. He called on Ireland to "align its climate effort with its admirable engagement on hunger”. It’s time fo r the Minister to step up to this challenge. Ask Alan Kelly to strenghten the Climate Bill and keep his promise to have the Bill passed into law before the summer break.

It's almost three months since the draft law was first debated in the Dáil and we're still waiting for the Government's proposed changes. Time is ticking and the crucial UN summit in Paris is now less than six months away. Countries like Ireland, with high emissions and higher historical responsibility, have to demonstrate a credible commitment to climate action if we are to build the trust required for a global deal in Paris.

The only thing that has kept the Climate Bill on track to become law at all is the continuous pressure from campaigners like you. We need one last push to make it a climate law we can be proud of. Please sign the petition now and share it with your friends.

Thank you

An Taisce Climate Change Committee This petition is organised by 'Stop Climate Chaos' and Taisce is a member of SCC.

2015 AGM Notification - Sat June 13th

6th June 2015
Report

67th Annual General Meeting - Saturday 13th June 11:30

Tailors' Hall, Back Lane, Dublin 8

Agenda

  1. President’s welcome
  2. Election of new President.
  3. Minutes of the 66th Annual General Meeting
  4. Appointment of new Auditors
  5. Adoption of the Annual Report
  6. Adoption of the Statement of Accounts
  7. Election of members of Council
  8. Chair’s Statement
  9. Motions (None received.)
  10. Any other business.

    (The AGM if for members of good standing only - Please bring your membership card to the meeting.)

Afternoon Presentation

An afternoon talk on Viking Settlements will take place given by Ned Kelly, former Keeper of Antiquities - National Museum of Ireland.