Stop Climate Chaos is hosting briefing meetings between TDs and local constituents

Joint Event
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Buswells Hotel

Briefing your TD on Climate Action, Tuesday 15th Nov, Buswells Hotel, Dublin

The following information is to help you confidently talk to your TDs about climate action.

We want TDs to focus on three issues on Tuesday. Below is info about each of these. You don’t have to be an expert in any of them, but do please try to raise each of them when you meet your TDs.

Don’t worry, we will be with you every step of the way, you are present as a constituent who is raising your concerns about climate change, that’s the most important thing.

We are asking TDs to support action on each issue by signing a letter to the relevant Minister. This letters will then be sent by Stop Climate Chaos to the Minister it is addressed to.

We must immediately embark on a rapid and just transition to a carbon-free future. There are many things the government can do to help us get there and show it is serious about taking action, here are the three we are focusing on right now:

1. Introduce a fair payment for solar electricity, to kick-start community ownership

In Ireland today we rely on imported fossil fuels for about 85% of our energy needs. While in recent years there has been a significant increase in renewable generation, less than 0.3% of this is owned by local citizens or communities.

Solar power offers a unique opportunity for citizens and communities to take part in the renewable transition and to provide diversity for our electricity generation. The roofs of our homes, farm buildings, schools, community centres and sports halls can all become locally-owned power plants. Households and communities could be generating an income from the clean energy they produce, while reducing their demand for fossil fuel electricity and lowering their energy bills. But right now there is no payment for solar electricity you generate at all. So this “rooftop revolution” hasn’t taken off here like in Britain, Demark and Germany. We are asking Minister Naughten to introduce a fair payment for solar electricity, so that solar generators, whether they are households, communities or businesses can get paid for the electricity that they export to the grid.

2. Divest taxpayers’ money from fossil fuels

To continue to invest in fossil fuel companies is to encourage and enable their plans to continue to explore and extract more and more fossil fuels – when even burning all that we already have would make the Paris commitments impossible to meet.

The case is increasingly being made for the withdrawal of investments from the fossil fuel industry on both ethical and financial grounds. Ireland is committed to the principle of Climate Justice in its approach to addressing climate change. To invest in an industry which is contributing so much to the suffering of communities in developing countries impacted by climate change is clearly unethical, while expert analysis is revealing the financial risks involved in continuing to invest in fossil fuels, in contrast with the strong performance of the renewable energy industry and other climate solutions. Investments of Irish taxpayer’s money in fossil fuel companies are currently being made via the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF). Decisions are being made on these investments right now. These decisions will be crucial in determining whether the Paris Agreement commitments can be met. We are asking the Minister Noonan to withdraw the state’s investments in the fossil fuel industry and to adopt a 100% renewables policy for energy investments by the ISIF.

3. Increase investment in cycling, walking and clean public transport

In 2009, the Government adopted 'Smarter Travel' as national policy. The policy included the following targets to be met by 2020:

  • The transport sector making a meaningful contribution to Ireland’s EU climate change commitments by reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • 500,000 more people taking alternative means to commute to work so that the total share of commuting by car drops from 65% to 45%;
  • Walking, cycling and public transport rising to 55% of total commuter journeys to work;
  • The total kilometres travelled by car not increasing significantly from 2009 levels.

None of these targets is being met. It will be impossible to meet our Paris Agreement commitments without immediate reductions in transport emissions. Transport is the only sector where emissions are still higher than they were in 1990. They almost tripled from between 1990 and 2007, and are once again rising quickly now. An increased transport budget isn't necessary, but the rebalancing of existing funding away from roads towards clean public transport and active travel is needed now. We are asking the Minister Ross to increase investment in cycling, walking and clean public transport to the levels necessary to meet the targets in Smarter Travel.

We’re asking TDs to sign a letter on each issue to the relevant Minister

During the meeting or at the end whichever is most appropriate, ask your TD to sign all three letters. Once signed hand the letter to a member of the coalition. Thanks.

Download this briefing document