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Government offers vague aspirations ‘at best’ in tackling climate change – Brian Stanley TD

22 February, 2018 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Climate Action Brian Stanley TD has said that the government shows nothing more than vague aspirations and little clarity within the National Planning Framework in terms of tackling climate change.

The Laois TD said;

“Climate change is the major issue of our time both nationally and internationally. Within the Governments National Planning Framework, what we see is a series of vague aspirations giving little clarity when it comes to the issue, and lacking vision.

“The government plan states that there will be ‘energy research funding’ into solar and biogas. These are already well-established power sources worldwide. We are past research stage, we need to use them.

“We need to specify what energy sources will replace fossil fuels. There is a proposal to stop using peat and coal by 2030, and to convert the coal burning plant of Moneypoint at a possible cost of €1 billion but it still leaves the question open on what the plant will actually become in the future.

“The phase-out of peat is also included but again doesn’t outline what will replace it. If it’s biomass there is no plan to establish the indigenous growing of biomass which could be an industry across Laois, Offaly and Westmeath replacing the peat industry.

“Currently Bord na Móna import biomass from across the globe to burn with peat. They have also looked at buying a biomass plant in the US. Questions must be asked as to why this is not being constructed in the midlands to process biomass such as willow which could be grown by local farmers.

“The Government also need to outline their intentions surrounding biogas. It is mentioned in the plan but little clarity on how it will be established.

“There is huge potential in biogas. We have one of the best resources in Europe because of our large farming sector. It can deal with the present problem with slurry and can use other waste material to produce an energy source for electricity, heat or a transport fuel.

“This will provide a boost to farm incomes and actually bring jobs across rural Ireland.

“The government’s plan is for 500,000 Electric Vehicles by 2030 but they have no mention of how this will be achieved. We have a little over 2,000 EV’s on the road and we have no certainty on who is going to build or own the public charging infrastructure of Electronic Vehicles into the future.

“At a local level there is no role for Local Authorities in climate change. This needs to be reconsidered. Overall, there is a need to have a clear plan on what will be the specific energy sources in the future which is not there. Without this, we will continue to use fossil fuels in an unsustainable way and continue to affect our environment.”

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