Labour Blog

Labour Blog

Keeping it in the ground

Posted on April 04, 2017 at 10:23 AM

If we believe that by 2050 “fossil fuels will be largely replaced by renewable energy sources”, then we must right now accept the scale of the changes required and start making decisions.

Moneypoint is one such decision. Bord na Móna is another. Its ‘Sustainability 2030’ plan is an important step towards adaptation, but it has been criticised as insufficiently ambitious.

Do we make the case for accelerated change, given the serious challenges that the country and the company both face? We will continue to advocate a partnership between the company, its workers and trade unions and with the midlands communities who will be most acutely affected by the inevitable changes to come.

In relation to oil and gas exploration, long time periods are involved in even the most successful explorations. We need to work backwards from 2050 and the clear policy commitment (and international obligation) to phase out oil and gas by that date.

How do with we reconcile achieving that commitment with our vague national aspirations for further oil and gas discoveries?

We need a public dialogue on this issue now. Are we going to actually ‘leave it in the ground’ – to leave oil and gas unexploited under ours seas, in the knowledge that there will be no use for it in a carbon neutral world?

If so, then we need to decide now that there will be no more licensing rounds beyond those already in play.

Similarly, apart completely from concerns regarding safety and amenity in rural Ireland – which is why we are already opposed to fracking – a future licensing regime for fracking, no matter what its size or scale and no matter what the safeguards, would make no sense given our obligation to phase out fossil fuels. 

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