An Taisce criticises Government’s low carbon roadmap

Urgent energy demand reduction and legally binding greenhouse gas (GHG) limits are essential for humanity’s long-term survival

An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland, has today (7 January 2014) called on Government to amend its ‘roadmap’ for electricity generation.  An Taisce’s submission to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources calls for energy demand reductions and legally-binding greenhouse gas limits to slow climate change and provide hope for future generations.

Energy Demand Reductions:

An Taisce stresses that attention must shift to energy savings and energy efficiency.  These have not received enough attention to date.

“Given the urgency required to address climate change and the slowness of delivering new low carbon electricity supply, very large investments in electricity demand reduction are now required to provide both energy saving and energy efficiency”, according to An Taisce’s submission to Government.

Describing the Government’s low carbon roadmap, James Nix, An Taisce’s Policy Director stated:

“Despite using rhetoric portraying a low carbon future, Ireland’s draft Electricity Generation Roadmap is unclear, scientifically deficient and ignores the commitments Ireland made at Copenhagen. The ‘roadmap’ plots a course that continues to lock in electricity generation based on high-carbon fossil fuels”.

Legally Binding Limits:

A legally-binding cap to carbon emissions, a national greenhouse gas (GHG) budget, is required for the period from now up to 2050.  This would assign annual targets to 2050, and define the path of emissions reductions so that temperatures do not rise any more than 2ºC on average across the world.  Emissions from all sectors – including electricity generation – must share the national budget without exceeding it.  Only this approach respects scientific realities and global equity.  It is also commensurate with the clear and present risks to Ireland’s society and economy posed by climate change.

The only practical mechanism to impede climate change and limit future impacts is to place an absolute cap on total cumulative GHG emissions.  Climate pollution must cease before this cap is breached.  Due to the lack of effective action to date, only a small amount of the remaining fossil fuel – shared across all humanity – can still be burned. Ireland must play its part in limiting the global amount of fossil fuels burnt, to ensure that less that a further 1000 Gt (Giga tonnes) of CO2 is released world-wide into the atmosphere.

In practical terms this means that at least 80% of currently known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground. This can be achieved only if current high-emitting countries, such as Ireland, commence radical emissions reduction.

We can still act with hope for ourselves and our children by immediately making the urgent transition to a low-carbon society and economy.

Taken from An Taisce’s press release.