The ‘Green Scene’ Series on Newstalk is a weekly update on energy and environmental matters with Pat Kenny and MaREI Director Brian Ó Gallachóir.
On March 31, 2020, Prof Ó Gallachóir discussed what does diffusion of sustainability look like? And the governments Revised Climate Bill.
What does diffusion of sustainability look like?
- There’s something very interesting and innovative happening on the Dingle Peninsula
- It started nearly three years ago and gives us insights into what a rural energy transition to a low carbon future means in practice
- One dimension is supported by ESB Networks, and focusses on supporting families, farms and businesses to switch from fossil fuels for heating and transport to electric heating and electric cars, along with solar energy and batteries
- This starting point, focussing on learning by doing with new technology, has evolved into something much bigger.
- It has grown into a wider diffusion of sustainability due to the enthusiasm, positive active engagement and leadership shown by people on the peninsula
- So what have we seen?
- The establishment of the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community and publication of an Energy Master Plan
- A sustainable transport initiative, focusing on new bus routes and transitioning all buses to low carbon buses
- Farmers coming together to discuss sustainability in farming and the development of a feasibility study on renewable gas from agriculture
- The West Kerry Dairy Farmers Sustainable Energy Community – focussing on how farmers can increase energy efficiency and renewable energy on their farms
- A Community Energy Mentor Programme to train members of the community on energy sustainability concepts
- The launch of the Kerry Education and Training Board Sustainability Strategy
- … etc., etc.So what have we seen?
- This didn’t happen by itself. What was key was tapping into, supporting and releasing the enthusiasm and capacity of the people on the Dingle Peninsula
- The driving force underpinning this was a unique partnership between
- a community enterprise initiative – the Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub
- a research centre – MaREI Centre for Energy Climate and Marine
- a community development company – NEWKD North East West Kerry Development
- Ireland’s electricity distribution systems operator – ESB Networks
- This is now being showcased nationally and internationally as a ‘living laboratory’, including recently by the United Nations
Revised Climate Bill to include short term Government ambition
- Ireland legislated for climate action in 2015 – Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015
- A draft revised climate bill was published in October 2020 to reflect increased Government ambition on emissions reduction
- An Oireachtas Committee recommended in December that the revised Bill be strengthened in a number of key areas
- This has happened and the next iteration of the Bill was discussed yesterday at Cabinet
- There are important changes, among which are changes
- to language e,g, pursue and achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2050
- to ambition – i.e. it now includes a 2030 target – a 51% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 (relative to 2018 levels)
- to international obligation – will require all carbon budgets to be consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement.
- There is still a journey from this current version of the Bill to an Act – but this is a key milestone.
The REthink Energy series featuring Green Scene is supported by ESB and The Institute of International and European Affairs.