It is eight years since the publication of the last White Paper on Energy. Since then, there has been a major acceleration of renewable energy. Capacity has been increased and an all-island energy market with Northern Ireland has been created. Big strides have also been made on energy efficiency, from better building regulations and energy-efficient incentives for homes to a dramatic lowering in emissions from cars.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it has become universally known, is a technique for extracting reserves of oil and gas that would be otherwise impossible or uneconomic to extract. The technique, which involves injecting rock with a mixture of water, chemicals and sand, has become one of most contentious issues in British and Irish politics. Advocates of fracking say that more widespread use of the technique could bring cheaper energy and reduce reliance on (not always friendly) foreign suppliers. Opponents point to a range of potential harmful impacts on the environment, associated possible risks to human health from polluted groundwater, and even an increased risk of earthquakes due to increased seismic activity.
Locally, it is unlikely that there will be much fracking activity any time soon. The Australian company Tamboran, who were granted a licence in 2011 to look for shale gas in County Fermanagh, had their licence revoked in September 2014 with no drilling having taken place. Scotland announced a moratorium in January 2015, and there has been no activity in the Republic of Ireland. Continue reading →
American and European officials meet February 2 in Brussels for another round of negotiations aimed at creating a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aims to remove most tariffs affecting the movement of goods across the Atlantic, reduce non-tariff regulatory barriers to transatlantic commerce and to spur more U.S.-EU cross-border investment. Continue reading →
The ECI to stop TTIP was rejected by the European Comission, so a group of campaigners started the sECI.
For the ECI: Europe has to collect 1 million signatures and at least 7 out of all EU nations, should reach their quorum within one year.
Dark blue are the countries that reached their quorum (some did reach it over 300%!)
Ireland is the 10th country that reached its quorum! (Germany, Austria, UK, Slovenia, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Netherlands, Spain)