Enviro – 23rd of October 2017

On this Episode of  Enviro, the Enviro team discuss:

The fate of our bees: The use of systemic insecticides especially neonicotinoid and fungicides are putting the bee populations the pollinators at risk. Seeds are now coated with these before planting, for example in the case of oilseed rape and winter cereal crops.

The ecological effects of tourism were discussed and Robert mentioned the effects of pollution bringing huge numbers of people on container cruises to places like Venice. The panel and John agreed that liners were the most polluting form of transport by far.

Clean Power: Wind farm projects worth 1.3bn Euros planned (Irish Independent: Business Week 19/10/17). The store IKEA is investing significantly in wind energy and boasts of having more wind turbines than stores. Our failure to meet our 2020 targets will result in fines of 500 million Euros annually. The cost of renewable is decreasing all the time and there is growing acceptance of the desirability of creating a decarbonised society a move that has been described as a ‘green revolution’. This revolution is taking place throughout the world in spite of actions of the US government to the contrary. On Tuesday 10 October 2017 when Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed an order to scrap the Clean Power Plan, an initiative from the Barack Obama era to curb pollution from US power plants. There are several major projects in the pipeline in Ireland, including investment by Parkwind NV into the Oriel wind farm with the possibility of a large-scale offshore wind farm. Microsoft has formed an agreement with GE to purchase 100pc of green power from a wind farm based in Co Kerry. Work on the development and construction of a 38 million Euro wind farm, Ballycumber Wind Farm in Co. Wicklow has started after full planning permission was granted. The recent Irish budget has made some advances including initiatives to promote the use of electric cars; incentives for the use of agricultural land for the development of solar power; renewable heat incentives; increased funding for energy efficient programs; capital allowances for energy efficient equipment; increased spending on retrofitting of buildings.   More information from Mike Hayes head of renewable energy KPMG and Paul Melia Environmental Editor of the Irish Independent and reference his article on Budget 2018 Irish Independent 11 October 2017 page 27.

HURRICANE ‘OPHELIA’: Warming oceans can increase the risk of hurricanes striking here (article by Paul Melia Environmental Editor Irish independent) and more hurricanes will hit Western Europe as warming Atlantic waters increase the area in which such storms can exist. (The scientific journal ‘Geophysical Research Letters’ 2013). Ireland is one of five EU member states set to miss it’s 2020 emission reduction targets and the only one of these five where emissions are projected to rise. Submissions have been made to the government appointed Citizens Assembly including one from Stop Climate Chaos jointly with Ireland’s Environmental Pillar. It included the following: Setting an end date for peat burning and coal-fired electricity generation; putting support systems in place for small-scale community renewable projects; providing significant funding for deep retrofitting of Ireland’s housing stock; increasing the share of transport investment in walking cycling, and clean public transport.

Ireland’s involvement in South America: The first print-run of 122,000 postage stamps bearing a famous image of Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara, who was of Irish descent, by the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick has sold out. But Che was not the only Irish man to play a leading role in the emergence of Latin American states. There was Bernardo O’Higgins, who became supreme director of Chile, Ambrose O’Higgins, (father of Bernardo O’Higgins,) became Viceroy of Peru. There was also Florence Daniel O’Leary who participated in the war of independence in Venezuela against the Spanish in the early 19th Century and became Simon Bolivar’s right-hand man and with him participated in the liberation of Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia from Spanish rule. Admiral William Brown was a founder of the Argentinean Navy. Roger Casement exposed human rights abuses in Peru.

Nuclear weapons: US nuclear arsenal in the 1960s was 32,000. Today it is estimated to be 4,000 approx. (source Federation of American scientists)-this represents progress but US President Donald Trump has called for an eight-fold increase in the number of US-based nuclear weapons. He has also unilaterally decided to withdraw from the Iran UN nuclear bilateral agreement.

Ireland’s EU exit-case can be based on the value of our fisheries to the EU. Ireland’s hidden transfer of wealth to the EU via fishing is colossal. Some 40% of edible fish caught in the EU or two out of every 5 fish is taken from Irish waters. Yet a mere twelfth of this is caught by Irish boats. Between1973 and 2010 non-Irish boats took 184 billion Euros of fish out of Irish waters under the Common Fisheries Policy compared with 17 billion Euros worth taken by Irish boats. Between 1973 and 2013 Ireland got a total of 41 billion Euros back from the EU.  But when the value of Irish fish was estimated, Ireland, in fact, gave the EU 143 billion more than it received. (Source Alive newssheet October 2017.)

Presenter/producer: John Haughton

panellists: Joe Dunne and Robert Navan