Our People’s Plan for Climate Action
Record-breaking floods. Deadly heat waves. Billions of euros of crops destroyed by storms — people in Ireland are worried about what’s happening in the world and about what it’s going to take to tackle the climate crisis before it’s too late.
This is evident by 93% of 3,000+ respondents answering that they are very concerned about the climate crisis.
Uplift regularly uses surveys to poll members on key issues that affect their lives. The following policy principles that we are proposing are based on surveys of Uplift members on their opinions and attitudes to the climate emergency following the publication of the government’s Climate Action Plan and Programme for Government.
Make sure corporate power and big business pay for the damage they cause
Most Uplift members believe that in the approach to tackle the climate emergency should be focussed on making sure corporate power and big business pay for the damage they cause ie. CO2 tax on business instead of consumers and communities resourced and supported to build sustainable energy solutions.
Most of us want to fix the climate crisis. But shouldn’t those who caused the damage, pay the most to clean up the mess? 70% of all climate-wrecking pollution comes from just 100 corporations – that have amassed huge profits while the planet burns.
Stop targeting those of us who are struggling
This is also reflected in Uplift members saying they are least happy with some of the more individual-focused proposals such as carbon tax increase, phase-out of oil in house and electric cars.
Many people in our communities are already struggling financially. Lumping extra costs on fuels without an alternative is not the best way to address the crisis. Uplift members would prefer to see positive solutions that make it possible for people in Ireland to live sustainably and affordably.
Grow more trees
Planting native trees to create rich, native woodlands, such as oak, ash, alder and birch, should be a priority to help clean our air and create healthier communities.
Allow solar energy to be sold back to the national grid
There’s an increase in people installing solar panels and with that, excess solar energy which could be sold back to the grid to be used instead of fossil-fuelled energy.
From the Programme for Government, the key ask from Uplift members in relation to climate is to deliver a just and sustainable recovery.
Introduce a ‘Green New Deal’
It is essential that when we begin to recover and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, that people have opportunities to return to decent employment. This means a public programme that builds energy-efficient homes and retrofits existing ones to lower BER ratings and save on household fuel consumption and costs – we welcome plans to expand this by 10x. However, a Green New Deal also means investing in building a much stronger public transport system that allows people to access services and work in a much more energy-efficient manner.
Invest in new renewable public energy programmes and ban the exploration and importation of fracked gas and oil
There are also huge employment and revenue opportunities in renewable energy. For example, Scotland, which has a similar capacity for wind energy, saw their renewable energy industry contribute £5.9 billion to Scotland’s economy and provided 21,400 people with decent employment. This industry should be developed in Ireland as a public good and a public revenue generator. We must suspend licenses for the exploration of gas and oil and rapidly transition away from the importation and use of fossil fuels.
Ban single use plastics and introduce a bottle deposit scheme
Plastic bottle deposit schemes have been massively successful in countries like Germany. It is also popular with people in Ireland with 78% percent of people polled by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of Uplift supporting a scheme.
Business For Scotland: How Scotland is leading the world’s renewable energy revolution