Campaign group Not Here, Not Anywhere deliver petition to DCCAE in Sept 2018 to ban exploration Photo: Niall Sargent

Election candidates urged to pledge to a fossil-free future

May 3rd, 2019

An environmental campaign group has called on candidates in the upcoming local and EU elections to sign a pledge for a fossil fuel free future for Ireland.

The pledge, launched by Not Here Not Anywhere and co-sponsored by over a dozen other environmental groups, outlines five key climate principles for politicians to follow.

These include a just transition for workers and communities, an end to offshore drilling and the burning of coal and peat, as well as a pledge to cease any new fossil fuel infrastructure.

“It is time for us all to be brave, and signing the fossil free pledge is a first step to climate action for election candidates,” he added.

To date, over 120 local election candidates have signed the pledge, as well as ten MEP candidates, including all three Green Party candidates, as well as Matt Carthy and Martina Anderson from Sinn Fein.

Clare Daly of Independents4Change, Social democrats Gary Gannon and Independent Walter Ryan-Purcell have also signed along with Adrienne Wallace and Cyril Brennan of PBP and Solidarity-PBP respectively.

In terms of local candidates, both People before Profit and the Green Party have signed the pledge, together with a handful of candidates from other parties.

Speaking to The Green News on the matter, Aideen O’Dochartaigh said that the group was “delighted” to see the level of cross-party support for the Fossil Free pledge.

Climate Voices event Photo: Niall Sargent

Aideen O’Dochartaigh (l) at recent climate talk Photo: Niall Sargent

“We are looking forward to seeing these candidates showing their support for important Fossil Free principles like banning offshore drilling and no new fossil fuel infrastructure when in office”.

MS O’Dochartaigh stated that fossil fuels are the “number one cause” of climate change and that taking climate action means “committing to a fossil free future.”

By following these principles, she told The Green News that MEPs can “vote to redirect European funding away from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, including the proposed Shannon LNG terminal”.

“Local election candidates can advocate for a just transition taskforce in areas affected by the transition from fossil energy, or ensure that local area development plans stipulate no new fossil fuel infrastructure,” she added.

Eoin O’Leidín from Gluaiseacht for Global Justice, which co-sponsors the pledge, said that politicians are “lagging behind the general population in terms of climate action”.

The pledge comes just in time for the Environmental Pillar MEP husting on climate and biodiversity for Dublin candidates in the Wynn’s Hotel this evening.

The public debate in front of 150 people will be chaired by Frank McDonald, former Environment editor at The Irish Times.

Speaking about the debate, Environmental Pillar coordinator Michael Ewing has said that he believes it will be a “great opportunity” for Irish citizens to make their voices heard and inspire a sustainable “new vision for Europe”.

“Citizens are crying out for a vision for the future of Europe that puts climate action, biodiversity protection and environmental justice at the core of the bloc’s policies.”

By Marianne Foody