March 15th greatly exceeded all expectations when over 10,000 school children and a few adults marched from St. Stephen’s Green to the Dail demanding action on Climate Change. This was part of a day of action all over the Country and around the world where some millions of children demonstrated to demand action on Climate Change since it is their lives and wellbeing that are at stake if we do nothing. The political world is slowly beginning to understand that they must take serious action and not keep putting off decisions, whatever the commercial pressures. Our own Government is planning to publish its Climate Action Plan shortly, indeed it should be available by the time this issue of SCAN is published. We must hope that it is a serious document and not another example of putting off difficult decisions.
SAGE, along with the other Sustainable Energy Communities around the Country, has been finding that the 30% grant for improving the BER is too small, making the payback periods too long to encourage people to insulate and upgrade their houses. This situation has been made greatly worse by a recent decision that the work done to upgrade a house must bring it up to B2 standard. In effect this means that the spend may well need to be €15,000 plus in many cases, which is clearly prohibitive for most people as a lump sum and it also has the disastrous effect of preventing incremental improvements over a number of years.
A Master’s student in Trinity is looking at the potential for setting up a Community Generation Scheme in Shankill. The aim would be to find people who wished to invest in the scheme which would install electricity generation panels on roofs, the investors would purchase their electricity from the scheme and also receive a dividend based on the sale of the excess electricity. Such schemes are running quite widely in other Countries. To make the scheme viable the Government needs to mandate the ESB to establish the necessary feed in points to the grid.
We apologise that it was necessary to postpone the talk by Lorna Gold in order to make way for the very well attended meeting concerning the proposed Bus Corridor through Shankill.
Lorna will be speaking on Tuesday 14th May in St. Anne’s Resource Centre. Lorna has to a great extent been responsible for the rising awareness of Climate Change in Ireland. This is a talk not to be missed. Feedback is that one in ten questions posed to politicians on the door steps now relate to Climate Change; a year ago that figure was zero.
In connection with the Bus Corridor #13 SAGE will be making a submission to BusConnects taking the view that the proposals, especially when tied back to the National Transport Plan, do not in any way address in a meaningful way the changes which we must make as a Country if we are to meet our Climate Change obligations and not incur fines which could soon be running at €500m p.a. if we fail. The fines represent absolutely dead money which could be spent on schools or the health service. We need to make this clear to our representatives when they come looking for our votes towards the end of the month.
SAGE was also present helping at the tree planting on Stonebridge Road on 4th April as part of National Tree Planting Week organised by Shankill Tidy Towns, Coillte, Crann Ireland and DLRCoCo, among other groups.