April 2016 eZine

10th April 2016

Meath Association - Annual General Meeting

Local Association Event
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Somerville House, Kentstown, Navan

Wine reception at 7.30 pm followed by an illustrated talk, by our guest speaker, Robert O'Byrne on 'A New Life for Old Houses'. This will be followed by the Annual General Meeting. Please bring a gift for our Raffle.

AGM Clare Association

Local Association Event
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Temple Gate Hotel

AGM Clare Association Wednesday 13th April
Temple Gate Hotel Board Room, starting 8pm

Experimental Archaeology: Science, Art or Disneyland?

Local Association Event
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The Goat, Goatstown, Dublin 14 at 8pm

Illustrated talk by Aidan O'Sullivan, Professor of Archaeology, U.C.D.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
€3
Cost Non Members: 
€4

Countryside Inspired Poetry & Readings' Night

Local Association Event
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Skyrne GAA Hall

Celebration of Irish Countryside in poetry and readings in Irish and English at Skyrne GAA Hall (RST) at 7.30 pm. Bring your own poem or reading. Light refreshments available.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
€10

Earth Day – Clare

Local Association Event
Friday, April 22, 2016
Oakwood Arms Hotel, Shannon,

Earth Day – Clare Environmental Network
Friday 22nd April
Spruce Goose Room, Oakwood Arms Hotel, Shannon, 7.30pm

History of Dublin Bay

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
The Goat, Goatstown, Dublin 14 at 8pm

Illustrated talk by Rob Goodbody. Well known local historian.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
€3
Cost Non Members: 
€4

Visit to Listoke Gardens

Local Association Event
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Listoke Gardens, Ballymakenny Road, Drogheda

Visit to Listoke Gardens, Ballymakenny Road, Drogheda with picnic at 1.00 pm at the kind invitation of Patrick and Patricia Barrow. This will be followed by a visit to Dunany House, Co. Louth at the kind invitation of Caroline Workman who will supply afternoon tea. Cost: €15 per person to cover both visits.

Cost An Taisce Members: 
€15

Without measures, without a clue – Ireland will miss its EU Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets

7th March 2016
Press Release

Today’s EPA Report "Ireland's Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 2020 - An update" indicates that, barring a miracle, Ireland is not going meet its 2020 targets. Note [1].

This means potential fines running into billions of euros and makes it more difficult to meet our EU 2030 targets and achieve the necessary decarbonisation by 2050. Once more, An Taisce calls for a Department of Climate Action in whatever new Government is formed, to take responsibility for achieving the targets and giving the next generations the futures they deserve. Note [2]

Despite flooding disasters, record global temperatures in 2015 and the historic Paris Agreement last December, Election 2016 was notable for the deafening silence, both from politicians and the media, on the crunch environment and climate change issues of our time.

The chickens of this complacent approach have come home to roost in the confirmation today by the EPA that Ireland is hopelessly off track regarding our legally mandated EU 2020 emissions reductions targets.

Our two main sectors accounting for the majority of Ireland’s non-traded emissions are Agriculture and Transport; these two alone will account for a whopping 76% of our non-ETS emissions by 2020. Yet, instead of the sharp reductions we are legally mandated to achieve, agriculture is due to increase its emissions by 6-7%, while transport emissions are set to climb by between 10-16% versus their 2014 levels.

These are disastrous findings, which are clearly indicative of rudderless government policy in thrall to special interests in recent years. Ireland’s politicians and public sector have failed utterly to ‘square the circle’ of aggressively promoting emissions-intensive economic activities, such as Food Wise 2025 and capitulating in transport policy to the private car lobby.

The 2020 emissions targets of 20% cuts are the easiest this country will ever face; by 2030, the targets rise steeply, to 40%, with total decarbonisation of our entire economic system mandated by 2050.

Rather than developing policies and implementing measures that will deliver on these critical reductions, government climate policy is a chaotic mess of conflicting signals and special pleading.

There is little in any of the election manifestos of the parties currently vying to form the next government to indicate that they have any idea how to transition the Irish economy onto a sustainable, low emissions, energy-independent pathway.

What is perhaps even more disturbing is how few newly elected TDs have had anything at all to say about their vision for a future where the threat of climate change to our complacent existence has been successfully met by courageous action involving all sectors of Irish society working together towards the common good.

John Gibbons, spokesperson for An Taisce’s Climate Change Committee stated “With climate change, inaction is the most dangerous policy of all. This EPA report is yet another confirmation that Ireland is treating Climate Change with dangerous indifference.”

He continued “As the IPCC and other expert international agencies have confirmed, a business-as-usual approach to emissions means sure and certain disaster, or what the IPCC described as: “pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” Note [3]

ENDS

John Gibbons, An Taisce Climate Change Committee Tel: +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. http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/airemissions/irelandsgreenhousegasemissionsto2020anupdate.html#.Vt269tBPSfh
  2. http://www.antaisce.org/articles/an-taisce-calls-for-department-of-climate-action
  3. https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full.pdf

An Taisce supports call for Trinity to divest from Fossil Fuel

15th March 2016
Press Release

An Taisce has joined renowned Irish and international public figures, including Noam Chomsky, John Sweeney and Fr. Sean McDonagh in support of a number of Trinity College Academics calling for the Trinity College Board to divest from its €6.1 million holdings in fossil fuel companies.

Trinity College would become the first university in Ireland to completely divest from fossil fuels, a step which has already been taken by hundreds of prominent universities, foundations and governmental organisations all around the world.

Charles Stanley-Smith An Taisce’s Communications Officer stated “An Taisce continues to support the Global Divestment Campaign and welcomes the move by Trinity Academics in their call for Trinity College to divest from its holdings in fossil fuel companies.”

He continued “The scientific consensus is that in order to meet a 2°C target the major part of existing fuel deposits must be kept in the ground. The ambitious 1.5°C target of Cop21 Paris will require total decarbonisation by 2050”.

Former An Taisce President, Prof. John Sweeney signed because ‘It is time for institutions like Trinity to adopt a position of moral leadership and divest from fossil fuels’.

ENDS

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. Open letter on behalf of TCD Fossil Free Group https://www.flickr.com/photos/140170080@N05/25782962075/in/shares-1o571Q/
  2. Press Release on behalf of TCD Fossil Free Group https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzaoNo80zkUlcnVzUzY4TXZxeWs/view
  3. An Taisce’ 2015 Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign http://www.antaisce.org/articles/irish-institutions-and-churches-invited-to-make-fossil-fuels-history

An Taisce joins 100 EU Environmental, Health, and Social NGOs in calling for Major Review of EU Food & Farming Policy

22nd March 2016
Press Release

An Taisce is one of the 100 European NGOs who have called on the European Commission to carry out a review of the Common Agricultural Policy. €53 billion are pumped into European farming every year making up 37% of the EU's total budget. It is only fair that taxpayers are allowed to review and see if they are getting a fair return on their investment.

Despite claims that European and Irish agriculture is greener than ever, we continue to see staggering collapses in biodiversity. One third of Ireland's wild bees are threatened with extinction while a once common bird the Corn Bunting has gone nationally extinct and Irish Curlew, Lapwing and Redshank have declined by over 80% since the early 90’s.

Agriculture is the greatest source of greenhouse gases in Ireland and limited mitigation potential within the sector means that agriculture is likely to be the main reason we fail to meet our emissions reduction targets.

In Ireland we have lost half our cleanest rivers and lakes in the last 22 years. Agriculture is also one of the main sources of water pollution and the ongoing intensification of agriculture is one of the biggest challenges we face to improve water quality.

“Given that the Common Agricultural Policy makes up a large chunk of the EU’s total budget and is funded by the taxpayer a review is in everyone’s interests. Despite claims of the CAP being greener than ever before it is clear that the ongoing intensification of agriculture across the EU is driving biodiversity loss and environmental degradation on a scale that far exceeds any benefits accruing from agri-environment schemes. Only through an open and transparent review of the EU’s agricultural policies can we fairly assess whether the Irish and European taxpayer is getting a fair return for their investment.” – Fintan Kelly, Natural Environment Officer, An Taisce

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

Locals fight to save 100 year old London Plane Trees

25th March 2016
Press Release

On the eve of the bank holiday and centenary 1916 celebrations, a crew from South Dublin Council marched into Rathcoole village and cut down 5 healthy and magnificent 100 year old London Plane trees on the Main Street of this lovely little village, despite protestations from concerned residents.

An Taisce’s Vice-Chair Attracta Uí Bhroin explained:

We were contacted yesterday evening amidst concerns the last remaining tree would be felled over the bank holiday. Calls to the Council fell on deaf ears. Sure enough the crew arrived at 8 am on Good Friday morning to a reception of brave residents up early and out to protect the tree. In a last effort to save it I contacted the Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald pleading for a stay of execution. Thankfully Minister Fitzgerald responded magnificently and contacted the CEO in South Dublin.

Uí Bhroin continued:

The crews then left but the question was would they stay away and why was such a horrendous act ever undertaken in the first place? The story we are hearing from the Council seems to change by the minute as we point out the associated process and legal failures with every latest version.

An Taisce also contacted former Councillor and now TD Eoin Ó’Broin on Thursday evening who indicated he could get no response from the senior Council officials he contacted. We also wish to acknowledge his action this morning confirming works have now been suspended and that no further action will be taken until there is an investigation next week in the Council.

Uí Bhroin concluded:

This isn’t over yet – there appears to be serious failures here and An Taisce will be pursuing this. The issue was compounded by the failures of the Council to respond to our and Citizens concerns and queries despite an apparent 24 hour service. All credit is due to the local people involved but what can bring back their trees? "

ENDS

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. Image 'Local Heros by last Tree standing' https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxEVOTzgFnKELVV6N2ZiSUEyZFk/view?usp=sharing
  2. Image 'Last Tree standing with Notice pleading for stay of Execution' https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxEVOTzgFnKEMkRGVXR4MTg0djg/view?usp=sharing

An Abandoned Project - Kanturk Castle

29th March 2016
Media Coverage

This detailed illustrated article from The Irish Aesthete outlines the history of Kanturk Castle, one of An Taisce's properties.

News Source Name: 
The Irish Aesthete

You should watch - An Interview with Kevin Anderson

10th April 2016
Report

During Kevin Anderson's recent successful An Taisce supported Dublin visit, he sat down for a one-hour interview, with John Gibbons of Think or Swim and An Taisce's Climate Change Committee.

John states "Please do share in any other networks you may also be involved. He is a gifted science communicator, as any of us who were able to see him in the flesh will attest, and I think this comes across well in this clip".

http://www.thinkorswim.ie/choosing-to-fail-prof-kevin-anderson-interviewed/

Is Ireland's climate policy credible? VIDEO quickfire slideshow

10th April 2016
Report

Ireland's climate policy in the context of the Paris Agreement

This video of "Is Ireland's climate policy credible given Ireland's signature to the Paris Agreement?" is an 'Ignite format' presentation, only 5 minutes long with 20 slides auto-advancing every 15 seconds – a challenging format for presenting research!

Ireland's impact on the global climate up to 2050 will be measured by the total cumulative CO2 emissions over the 35 years until 2050. To date, the upcoming National Mitigation Plan is to be based on government's National Policy Position or NPP (2014). The analysis here, by Paul Price, looks at Ireland's climate policy choices and resultant possible emission pathways in the context of: the Paris Agreement "well below 2ºC" climate target; the current EPA projections to 2035; and the likely emissions paths assuming "steady per cent decarbonisation effort" to 2050 for the NPP; and the EU targets of a cut of 80% to 95% by 2050 relative to 1990. A cut of 80% by 2050 in any sector or collection of sectors implies sustained annual decarbonisation rates of about 5% per year, every year, starting now. Any delay in achieving such a rate increases the total emissions thereby increasing Ireland's responsibility for climate impacts.

According to the Stockholm Environment Institute, Ireland's (and the EU's) 'fair share' of the remaining 2ºC global carbon budget are likely to be exhausted by 2023 if emissions continue at the current level. See http://calculator.climateequityreference.org Like the SEI calculator, the analysis in this presentation includes non-CO2 in the cumulative total because, like long-lived CO2, the reduction of short-term climate pollutants like methane requires substantial and sustained reductions starting as soon as possible to reduce resultant global warming – given the time it will take to reduce the numbers of cattle and sheep causing these methane emissions.

Clearly a huge co-ordinated effort involving all sectors and all of Irish society will be needed to begin and sustain reductions in emissions in line with the climate targets we have agreed to align our policy with. This will affect our entire economy and will need careful planning to maintain social stability in the necessary rapid transition to a zero carbon future.

This 5 minute, 20 slide 'Ignite' presentation (auto-advancing with 15 sec per slide) was first given at the 2016 Climate Change Congress at NUI Galway held by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Society.

Paul Price, An Taisce Climate Change Committee

Report from The Clare Association

10th April 2016
Report

Forthcoming events in Clare.

We have a number of celebrations this coming year. This will be the tenth year that we have held our Annual Bat Meeting during Heritage Week and we plan to use this to get extra publicity locally. Our Bat Meeting is different in that it is designed for children and we have it at the INN at Dromoland (previously the Clare Inn) as this is a hotel that specialises in families.

To assist with our lack of funding, we started preparing “Bee Garden Packs” which included Irish Wild Flowers and guidance on their planting and importance. We prepared and sold ten packs at €10 per pack. We are going to do the same this year, but intend to double the number of packs.

Our members have been very busy at conferences and fairs on Climate Change and the environment generally and we plan to do the same this coming year in the hope of increasing our local membership. The Burren Management Committee has also been busy cutting away hazel scrub and preparing a looped walk on our land. The Natural Environment and Properties committees plan to visit the site on the 15th May and you are welcome to join us. However, you should email Peter Wise peter.wise.ie@gmail.com first as we are planning a park & ride to avoid congestion on the narrow roads near the land.

13/04/2016 Clare Association AGM

22/04/2016 Earth Day Clare

15/05/2016 Burren Walk

24/08/2016 Annual Bat Walk