16 November 2021
The Minister for the Environment believes that imports of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will not be needed to meet energy security needs, according to an answer he gave to an Oireachtas Committee today.
Speaking before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA), Minister Eamon Ryan noted that gas will be needed in the energy mix for years to come as it was essential to “cover for when there was a failure” when supplies of renewable energy falter.
However, he added that in his opinion “LNG imports will not be needed to give us that security”.
Elaborating on his position, Minister Ryan cited examples of energy terminals in northwest Europe previously expecting gas deliveries earlier this year only to have those imports re-routed to Asia as it was where the price of the fuel was notably higher.
He added that he will be making that case once a national energy security review has been completed.
Government policy on LNG
The fracking method by which Liquified Natural Gas is often extracted has been linked to numerous health issues and earth tremours, as it is drawn out of the ground by injecting sand, pressurised water and various chemicals into shale rock.
Proponents of LNG as an energy source argue that it emits less carbon dioxide compared to coal or oil when burned, and therefore argue it could act as a “bridge fuel” as energy systems transition to renewables.
However, Oil Change International has argued that it is rather a “bridge to disaster”.
Alongside the health and environment impacts gas can bring to a community, methane leaks throughout the process of extraction and production.
Methane, a greenhouse gas, has a much greater immediate warming impact than carbon dioxide. Within a 20 year period, it’s warming effect is estimated to be 84 to 87 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.
Earlier this year, the Government issued a highly-anticipated policy statement on LNG and established a moratorium on fracked gas importation developments pending the outcome of an energy security review.
The move at the time was described by Head of Policy at Friends of the Earth Ireland Jerry Mac Evilly as “a death knell” for imported LNG into Ireland.
Most recently, at last week’s recently concluded COP26 negotiations, Ireland joined the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, which would see both aforementioned fuels phased out in line with the Paris Agreement.
Minister Ryan said at the time of joining that the move sent a “powerful message” that both Ireland and other signatories were moving “irrevocably away from fossil fuels”.
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