Climate Change Conversations – Saturday 6th October 2018 Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim

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A Climate Change conference will take place in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday October 6th from 09.30 until 16.00. This event is being organised by The Sisters of Mercy in the Galilee Community (www.galilee.ie). Minister Denis Naughton DCCAE will deliver the opening address.

Speakers include Professor John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Committee; Jim Scheer, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; Dr Simon O Rafferty, Environmental Protection Agency; Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth and SEAI Board member; Dr Lorna Gold, Trócaire; Gary Tyrrell, An Taisce Climate Ambassador Programme; Mel Gavin IT Sligo; and local climate ambassadors Seamus Dunbar from the North Leitrim Sustainable Energy Community, Francesca Franzetti the Leitrim Cool Planet Champion, and Dr Micheal Morkan who will describe his own personal experiences with a low carbon transition.

Topics discussed on the day will include: What is Climate Change? Mitigation and Adaptation Measures in Ireland; Delivering on Ireland’s Low Carbon Transition – Progress and Challenges; Climate Transitions; How a Circular Economy Supports the Low Carbon Transition; and many more.

There will be electric cars available on the day for test driving; grant information from SEAI for homeowners, and other renewable energy companies exhibiting PV and biomass products.

It is FREE to register (Click here) and lunch is kindly sponsored by the Western Development Commission through the LECo (Local Energy Communities) Project.

 

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Please register by September 26th with Sister Mae at the Galilee Community: 071-9664101 or galileecommunity@gmail.comLeco4

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€120billion geothermal project in Europe

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On 28th of January 2018 in Brussels at an EU steering committee meeting on energy technique of the future, SETPLAN, Guðni A. Jóhannesson general director of energy reported on a plan on deployment of geothermal heat for heating and electric production in Europe. Iceland is a member in SETPLAN cooperation on the grounds of EEA cooperation.

A workgroup under supervision of Guðni and other colleagues have been working on various topics e.g. technical matters, highlights and projects that need to be fulfilled under strict rules of the steering committee set in the beginning of the project. Matters that need to be covered are e.g. utilization of geothermal heat, improve the competitiveness and minimize costs regarding exclusive factors of geothermal heat production.

The SETPLAN committee approved the plan from the workgroup and to finance research and development projects within the geothermal fields with 940 billion euro. The financing comes from the partner countries, from EU funds and the industry. The first cooperation project has begun, GEOTHERMICA, and applications thereunder could lead to 60 billion euro projects. Orkustofnun (National Energy Authority) leads the project from Iceland; other partners are also RANNÍS (The Icelandic Centre for Research) which runs the application process. GEORG runs the office of the project and daily operations.

Source: https://orkustofnun.is/orkustofnun/frettir/nr/1912

Ireland’s first Climate Ambassador Programme to tackle the effects of climate change

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The Climate Ambassador programme is a new initiative to train and support individuals taking action on climate issues and is jointly supported by the Educational Unit in An Taisce (An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland’s natural and built heritage) and also the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE).

Dr. Orla Nic Suibhne recently commenced work with the WDC as a project administrator on the NPA funded LECo project.  Over the past two years, Dr. Nic Suibhne completed a Postdoc with University College Dublin and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland entitled “The energy transition process in a rural community; becoming a Sustainable Energy Community”.

In November 2017, Dr. Nic Suibhne was contacted by Gary Tyrrell, the Climate Action Officer with An Taisce informing her that she had been chosen as one of Irelands first Climate Ambassadors!

There are 100 Climate Ambassadors located throughout Ireland, and the first training day took place in Galway on Saturday 27th January where lots of passionate, experienced climate ambassadors met. Various climate events will take place in Ireland over the next 12 months so please continue to follow us for details.

Further information can be found at http://www.climateambassador.ie/

Climate Ambassador 2                Orla

 

Irish Government to set up regional climate action offices

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The Irish Government is to set up four regional climate action offices involving local authorities to provide a more coordinated approach for adapting to the challenges of climate change. A large part of their work will be focused on adapting to the risk of flooding. The National Climate Change Mitigation Plan will be published today by Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment Denis Naughten. 

It is aimed at enabling the nation to adapt to and deal with the impacts of climate change and to the extreme weather events that accompany it, such as those experienced when Storm Ophelia hit Ireland last October. Three people lost their lives during the storm, on-land wind gusts of up to 156km/h were recorded, 385k homes lost electricity supply, 109k lost their water supply, and 148 waste water schemes were knocked out of action.

The plan will set out a national pathway for achieving a more climate resilient economy and society:

  • It will include a key role for county councils and better coordination of climate adaption measures across Government departments and State agencies.
  • It will highlight the importance of climate adaptation considerations in the built environment and in spatial planning.
  • It will encourage local authorities to consider acquiring flood prone lands for suitable, but less vulnerable land use.

The Government estimates that the total value of assets lost as a result of flooding events in Ireland has averaged almost €200m per year in recent years. This number is expected to increase six-fold to almost €1.2bn by 2050.

https://www.rte.ie/news/enviroment/2018/0119/934414-government-to-set-up-regional-climate-action-offices/

Iceland’s new government puts environmental issues and global warming at the forefront

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A new government was formed in Iceland on the 30th of November after an election in October. The Left Green movement, the independence Party and the Progressive Party joined forces and formed a government. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chairman of the Leftist-Green Movement is Iceland’s new Prime Minister, making her the second woman to hold that position in Iceland, as well as the first ever socialist leader in the country.

In the government agreement are the environmental issues and global warming at the forefront. Iceland is guided by the goal of the Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit the average increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to 1.5°C from the reference level. The main aim of the government’s climate policy is to avoid negative effects of climate change on marine life. In no other part of the world has the temperature risen as much as it has in the Arctic. Thus, it is incumbent upon Iceland to conduct more extensive studies of acidification of the ocean in collaboration with the academic community and the fishing industry. Iceland is moreover bound to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, based on the 1990 level, by 2030.

It is the government’s wish to go further than is envisaged in the Paris Agreement and to aim to have a carbon-neutral Iceland by 2040 at the latest. The aim is to achieve this by making a permanent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and also through changes in land use in accordance with internationally recognized standards and by incorporating approaches that take account of the local ecology and planning considerations. Support will be given to industrial sectors, individual enterprises, institutions and local authorities in their attempt to set themselves targets pertaining to climate-change.

The government aims to have all major public projects assessed in terms of their impact on the climate-policy targets. Concessions for new investment projects will be subject to the condition that the projects have been assessed in terms of their impact on climate and how they conform to Iceland’s international undertakings regarding reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Emphasis will be placed on involving all players in society, and the general public, in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and support will be given to innovation in this sphere. A climate council will be established and a plan of action on emission reductions will be drawn up, with a time-scale, and financed.

The plan of action will include targets regarding transport and the proportion of vehicles powered by environmentally friendly fuels in the total number of vehicles in Iceland, utilization 22 — levels of fuel and power in business and industry, the introduction of international conventions on the protection of the oceans, ‘green steps’ in state operations and a Climate Fund, and moves will be made to prohibit the use of heavy oil in vessels within Iceland’s economic zone. Collaboration will be established with sheep farmers on neutralizing the carbon emissions from sheep farming in accordance with a plan of action. Other production sectors will also be invited to collaborate on comparable projects.

Irelands Renewable Heat Incentive scheme to receive €7m in Budget 2018

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Minister Denis Naughton

Irelands Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe announced that a total budget of €17 million will go towards the RHI scheme and the encouragement of greater uptake of electric vehicles as part of Ireland’s commitment to its climate change obligations.

€7 million will be allocated for the government’s long-anticipated Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in 2018. The allocation is lower than predicted by industry representatives, but with applications only expected to open in the second half of 2018, next year will not be a full operational year for the scheme.  The scheme is aimed at encouraging industrial and commercial heat users, in the Republic of Ireland, to switch to greener technologies.  An RHI scheme was first considered as part of the Bioenergy strategy consultation in 2013, and included in the Draft Bioenergy Plan in 2014.

The RHI will support the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy systems – such as biomass boilers. The scheme will present a significant opportunity for the domestic bioenergy sector benefiting farmers, foresters and rural communities.

Further details on the RHI scheme can be found on the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment website http://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/energy/consultations/Pages/Renewable-Heat-Incentive-Consultation.aspx

What is going on in the Arctic?

The Arctic is still a cold place, but it is warming faster than any other region on Earth. Over the past 50 years, the Arctic’s temperature has risen by more than twice the global average. In 2016, the annual mean temperature in Svalbard was 6 degrees higher than normal – so we are already witnessing actual consequences of global warming to Arctic life. These rapid changes have consequences well beyond the Arctic.

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What Arctic change does to the world

Once Arctic warming gets going, it has two important dynamics with unpredictable effects.

  • As the Arctic warms and sea-ice and snow-cover retracts, this weakens surface reflectivity. The bare ground and open water absorb more heat from the sun and amplify warming further. This feedback is an important reason why the Arctic warms at twice the rate of the global average.
  • The Arctic permafrost is a storehouse for trapped greenhouse-gases such as methane and CO2. When the permafrost is thawing, these greenhouse-gases could be released to the atmosphere, amplifying global warming further. These secondary effects are adding unpredictability. Unpredictability in terms of consequences – but also unpredictability in terms of the pace of climate change. As we know, unpredictability means enhanced risks.

Arctic warming is accelerating

A new scientific assessment of climate change in the Arctic, by the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), concludes that the Arctic is now shifting — rapidly and in unexpected ways — into a new state.

If we allow current trends to continue, they will have profound and accelerated impacts on ecosystems, human health and safety, industries and economies around the world. Certainly, this will also influence our security environment. Recent research indicates that this could increase risk levels not only in the Arctic, but in regions very far from the Arctic areas. This is due to the climate system – It is highly interconnected on the global scale. The Arctic region acts as a global cooling system by drawing warm ocean water from the south and cooling it down. This movement of warmer ocean waters to the north has a major influence on climate outside the Arctic; it accounts for northern Europe’s relatively mild climate, and it keeps the Tropics cooler than they would otherwise be.

The rapid melting of Arctic ice and snow is likely to weaken this global cooling system, amplifying global warming, and intensifying its consequences throughout the world.

Artic warming will amplify security risks

So while global warming is a multiplier of existing security risks and threats, the Arctic is an amplifier of global warming. Indirectly, a warmer Arctic will indeed also amplify security risks worldwide. We are seeing, and will see ever more extreme weather events. We are seeing more stress on critical ecosystems, including oceans, freshwater, and biodiversity. These changes, in turn, will have direct and indirect social, economic, political, and security effects.

Extreme weather can trigger crop failures, wildfires, energy blackouts, infrastructure breakdown, supply-chain breakdowns, migration, and infectious disease outbreaks. We can expect climate change to exacerbate current conditions: making hot, dry places hotter and drier, for example. Over the longer term, global climate change will change how and where people live, where they can produce food, as well as the diseases they face.

Science is increasingly concerned that more sudden, dramatic shifts could be possible. Such shifts in the climate or climate-linked ecosystems could have dramatic economic and ecological consequences.

Accelerated climate change

Accelerated climate change, therefore, is not only a significant risk factor in its own right – it is a factor that can interplay with and magnify other risk factors: economic, technological and demographic.

  • Economic risk – The globalised economy, the risks to free trade and the global economy are real.

The physical risks that arise from the increased frequency and severity of climate- and weather-related events that damage property and disrupt trade. The liability risks – the risks posed to companies business models by climate change. The transition risks which could result from the adjustment towards a lower-carbon economy. Changes in policy, technology and physical risks could prompt a reassessment of the value of a large range of assets. Just as we can have climate shocks and technological disruptions, we may also have “policy shocks” in response to dramatic climate events.

  • Technology induced risks – Combatting climate change will require faster technological change.

Technology is accelerating the pace of change around us, and in the process it is triggering new complex challenges, disruptions and tensions.

  • Demographic risks – Risks associated with demographic shifts.

Urbanization is a welcome trend in terms of more climate friendly living with regard to housing, transport systems and other public infrastructure. At the same time, with more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and pressure on critical infrastructure, urban centres are increasingly vulnerable.

Climate action is of high strategic importance

Climate change is a security challenge, and hence climate policy is of high strategic importance. The work in the GREBE project workpackage 4 is a small contribution to the strategic work on climate policy and security challenges – with a practical focus on business strategy models.

Climate policy matters!