Wednesday , October 20 2021

Inactivity to climate change criticized by Mari Robinson



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Former Irish president and activists of the climate protection campaign, Mari Robinson, have criticized the Board on Mona because they are not ambitious enough to close peat production.

Ms. Robinson said she believes the company could end up with peat harvest – which she described as "the worst of fossil fuels" – before 2028 targets were met.

"Motives to end the peat harvest activity are indisputable," she said. "Peat generates less energy per ton of coal and produces higher CO2 emissions per unit. Burning is inefficient and polluting ways to generate energy.

There are no economic arguments for maintaining peat as a fuel source or subsidizing its production.

She added that the sector received only 115 million euros of subsidies for the production of peak electricity only in 2016.

However, at the same time, inviting the company to propose its goals, she also insisted that no employee in the industry should leave behind.

Referring to a "real transition" to clean up the alternative industry, Ms. Robinson said: "The need for an urgent ending of peat extraction should not jeopardize the rights of communities whose lives are dependent.

"There needs to be a long-term strategy that ensures the rights and dignity of people whose lives have been affected by this transition," she said. "With proper government support and through partnership with workers and trade unions, the Board of Mona has the opportunity to plan and fulfill the right transitional strategy."

She said the company should plan to create 400-500 jobs to replace the Midlands, investing in retraining and training workers, thus allowing those close to retirement to have early access to their pensions if they choose.

"As the Mona Board moves to take advantage of the opportunity it sees in its renewable and future future without fossil fuels, parallel efforts must ensure that workers are supported and on their way to their future," she said.

Ms. Robinson, who was appointed President of the International Human Rights Group The Elders last week, spoke at a conference organized jointly by the French Embassy in Ireland, Trinity College, Trocaire and the Institute for International and European Affairs marking two years since Ratified Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Caoimhe de Barra, Trocaire's executive director, criticized the lack of government ambitions to reduce carbon emissions in Ireland.

"It's already too late for many communities we work in," she said.

How much we have huge support from the Irish Government for our work and how much we see an increase in the budget for aid abroad – and we are very grateful for it – but at the same time, how do we deal with climate change?

"If Ireland does not join and change our policy on climate change, we can potentially do more harm to people and communities we work than we would ever hope to solve through our sustainable agricultural programs and livelihoods."

Ireland has committed to reducing emissions by 20% by 2020, but is on track to achieve only a 1% reduction.

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