11 November 2021
Ireland has joined an international initiative to bring an end to oil and gas production today as the COP26 conference comes down to its final days in Glasgow.
The Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance (BOGA), co-chaired by Costa Rica and Denmark, aims to curtail new licensing for the aforementioned fossil fuels and aspires to phase out production in line with the Paris climate agreement.
Other countries that joined the alliance today include France, Greenland, Sweden and New Zealand.
Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan says that the move sends “a powerful message” that both Ireland and other signatories are “moving irrevocably away from fossil fuels towards a renewable future”.
The Irish Government earlier this year signed off on legislation that bans new applications for oil and gas licences and by passing the revised Climate Bill over the summer, Minister Ryan stressed that “there is no longer a basis for granting new licences”.
“A positive step”
The move also puts Ireland in a good position to apply pressure on “big asks for COP26”, which include the conference’s draft document mention of phasing out coal and fossil subsidies, according to Aideen O’Dochartaigh of Irish grassroots campaign group Not Here Not Anywhere.
As it currently stands, the document says countries should “accelerate the phasing out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies”.
Ms. O’Dochartaigh recognised the news as a “positive step” and is urging the Government to “follow through with implementation at home” by ensuring no new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) development.
“An Bord Plenala is currently looking at Shannon LNG planning permission, and the Government has said that the body will have to have regard to Government policy. But it remains to be seen.
We can point to this development today and say that Ireland has self-declared itself as a leader on phasing out fossil fuels and it has to prove that domestically,” she told The Green News.
The developers for the Shannon LNG terminal have re-applied for planning permission and a decision on the development has yet to be made by An Bord Pleanala.
A crucial next step for Government must be preventing any oil and gas development from existing exploration and extraction licences in Irish waters in line with the most recent International Energy Agency analysis, according to Head of Policy at Friends of the Earth Jerry Mac Evilly.
“It is also important that Government builds on recent policy which introduced a moratorium on the development of LNG and fracked gas imports and takes steps to make this a permanent ban,” he added.