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de Brún calls on Empey to invest in research in clean technology

30 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Bairbre de Brún MEP today called on Employment and Learning Minister, Reg Empey, to 'help combat climate change by investing in the vital research needed to produce a new generation of clean technology'.

Speaking as a solar powered car left Brussels for Australia Ms de Brún said:

"As a member of the European Parliament committee on climate change, I am very aware of the EU commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. This creates great economic opportunities for those regions of Europe which invest in clean technology.

"I am calling on Reg Empey to put the North of Ireland at the forefront of combating climate change by investing in the research needed to produce a new generation of clean technology. The solar-powered car is just one of a range of new technologies being created at present as countries all over the world seek to reduce CO2 emissions and produce more renewable energy.

"Our economy can benefit not only from using such new technologies but also by helping to create them. By investing in such research, Employment and Learning Minister, Reg Empey can ensure that we benefit economically from the political commitments of the EU.

"This solar car shows that 'high-tech' and 'sustainable development' are not contradictory. Given the political leadership and resources, universities and companies can contribute to common environmental objectives while reaping the economic benefits."

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey, who chairs the Assembly Employment and Learning Committee added:

"The newly established Executive is ideally placed to produce the kind of joined up thinking that will help our industries produce the much-needed clean technology and help us all meet our targets on combating climate change." ENDS

Note to Editors

  1. 14 students between the ages of 21 and 25 at the Technical University of Leuven have spent the last year constructing a solar-drive. The car is leaving Europe in mid-September to participate in the 21-28 October 2007 Australian biennial "World Solar Challenge" ( for a 3,000 km solar race from Darwin to Adelaide.
  2. Bairbre de Brún MEP is a member of the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on Climate Change.
  3. Commissioners Margot Wallstrom, Vice President of the Commission and Janez Potocnik, Commissioner for Science and Research will today bid farewell to the solar car and it's team outside the European Commission building before it leaves from Brussels to Australia. Ms de Brún will participate in the event.
  4. Mrs de Brún also attended a briefing in the European Parliament this week on the Mayor of London's Climate Change Action Plan. The briefing was organised by John Bowis MEP. London is the first city to produce such an action plan.

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