Unless the Minister acts now, the Shannon LNG terminal could get planning permission  

The government is talking out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to its commitments on climate change, according to Social Democrats TD, and Climate Spokesperson, Jennifer Whitmore.

“The Minister for Climate, and Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan has repeatedly re-iterated his opposition to the development of a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Shannon estuary and has said the government will ban the importation of fracked gas. However, this ban is not contained in his Climate Action Bill.

“Meanwhile, last month, the company behind the Shannon LNG project, New Fortress Energy, announced plans to imminently file a fresh planning application for the project. Unless the Minister acts now, there is every chance that project will proceed on his watch. Is this what the Minister wants?

“There are other shortcomings in the legislation, which is being debated by the Dáil today. The myth propagated by the Minister, that this Bill will be the most ambitious in the world in terms of cutting carbon emissions, must be dispelled. Denmark has set a 70pc target of emissions reductions by 2030 in legislation while the UK has committed to putting in place a 78pc target by 2035.

“We are no longer ambitious. In fact, we are behind the curb on this. A target of net zero emissions by 2050 is simply too late, out of step with the scientific advice and far short of our fair share of the global effort needed to deliver on the Paris Agreement. This must be the floor, not the ceiling of our ambition.

“The Social Democrats welcome any serious effort to tackle the climate crisis and will work with the Minister to improve the Bill in this regard. However, this effort will fail unless the Minister brings the people with him.

“While the Bill now recognises the need for a “just transition to a climate neutral economy”, a clear definition of “just transition” is notable by its absence. I will be seeking to rectify this as the Bill progresses.

“If we truly want a just transition, any climate strategy must not place a disproportionate burden on the most vulnerable. We must poverty-proof, disability-proof and region-proof climate action policies to ensure that all of those affected are consulted in the drafting of these important policies.

“Another concern is the government’s determination to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (Ceta) – and the impact this could have on the State’s ability to regulate to protect the environment.

“We have had decades of inaction on the climate crisis and this Bill must be dealt with on an emergency basis. Ultimately, implementation will be key and sufficient funding must be available to support departments, agencies and local authorities implement their climate action plans.

21 April, 2021


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