The NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum supports the call from over 50 climate and environmental groups from Ireland and the United States (US) to the Taoiseach to not seek the development of a facility that would accept imported fracked gas imports from the US. (1)
The letter asks the Irish Government to “remove the ‘Shannon LNG’ terminal and all fracked gas infrastructure projects from the European Union Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list for its October 4th meeting. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is disastrous for climate change, dangerous, and relies on fracking in the U.S. that harms people and the environment.” (2)
Ireland was one of the first countries to ban fracking in 2017, after a concerted campaign by environmental groups. The NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum has had real concerns over fracking for many years itself and has undertaken a number of research reports on its low level radiation impacts. (3) NFLA rather advocates a wide renewable energy mix instead.
The Forum thinks what the Government needs to do is to really start prioritising in a much more pro-active way renewable forms of energy. Just a couple of weeks ago, as a contrast, a number of new offshore wind farms coming in as low as £39.50 / €44.24 per megawatt hour were approved by the UK Government. Ireland needs to catch up with such schemes, bringing in offshore wind to complement onshore wind, increased support for solar and look more actively at tidal and marine energy.
As part of this, it also needs to harness the local government sector who could play a much more pivotal role in the development of decentralised energy, energy efficiency, energy storage and ‘smart’ energy solutions.
Earlier this week, Belfast City Council became the third Council in Northern Ireland to pass a ‘climate emergency’ resolution, following on from Ards and North Down and Derry and Strabane Council. Receiving unanimous cross-party support, the Belfast resolution also agreed to produce a report assessing the risk to Belfast’s infrastructure in climate-related scenarios. This needs to be published by December and it will look at the economic effects of reducing carbon emissions and the costs associated with developing a climate adaption and mitigation plan. (4)
In addition, 15 Irish Councils – Carlow, Cork City, Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow – have also passed climate emergency resolutions committing them to more concerted action to reduce carbon emissions and look at renewable energy, heating and transport solutions. (5)
The Forum has recently published two detailed briefings outlining that Ireland needs to speed up low carbon projects and a core way to do this is by giving Councils the powers and resource to decentralise these solutions and bring a joining of a ‘top down’ with a ‘bottom up’ approach in scaling-up low carbon work. The reports outline both excellent examples in Ireland and compare them with the impressive projects being undertaken by many Councils across the Irish Sea. Its latest briefing is a ‘manifesto for low carbon action’ and outlines some of the ways to make more dramatic improvements in this area. There remains a real need though to provide resources and powers across the island of Ireland to make this work much more effective.
Forum Co-Chair, Councillor John Trainor, added:
“The island of Ireland needs to get off its fossil fuel addiction and put itself truly behind the renewable energy revolution. Importing fracked American gas is not the type of answer we want to hear in this area. It is welcome rather to see that Irish Councils have waked up to the urgency of mitigating climate change and are passing climate emergency resolutions committing them to develop dynamic low carbon strategies. The NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum has been for the past five years putting forward examples of best practice in undertaking such work and calling on central government to do more in supporting this. This is perhaps the most important endeavour councils will have to do in the next two decades and I fully support the work of the Forum in promoting ways they can do it.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(2) Friends of the Earth Ireland and 50 other groups letter to the Irish Government, October 3rd
(3) NFLA Policy Briefing 105 on fracking –
(4) BBC Northern Ireland News, October 2nd –
(5 CACE Online list of Councils passing climate emergency resolutions –