Irish Parliament Votes to Ban New Fossil Fuel Exploration
Ireland's Dáil Éireann, the country's lower house of parliament, voted 78-48 Thursday to advance a bill to stop the government from issuing new contracts for both on and offshore oil and gas exploration.
Despite strong opposition from the Irish government, the legislation was backed by thousands of activists, campaigners, parliamentarians as well as a surprising supporter who believes in life after oil: Cher.
The "Climate Emergency Measures Bill," introduced by Solidarity-People Before Profit deputy Bríd Smith, underscores how fossil fuels are major contributors to climate change and how keeping them in the ground will prevent further damage to the environment.
"If we take the Paris climate agreement seriously the Oireachtas (parliament) will support this bill," Smith said during the vote.
Music icon Cher threw in her weight after a tweet from Green Party member Sinéad Mercier stating: "Ireland has 250,000 bottlenose dolphins visiting our seas every summer—we want to become the fourth country in the world to ban oil and gas drilling to protect them!"
The "Believe" singer responded, #HELLTOTHEYES.
In a follow-up tweet, Mercier presented two images of the various licenses for oil and gas drilling and seismic airgun testing granted by the government.
The bill now heads to the Committee Stage in the parliament for scrutiny.
"Yesterday, the vote on the Climate Emergency Bill was a triumphant win in the struggle to stop climate chaos and environmental destruction," Ireland's Green Party tweeted Friday. "However, we have won the battle but not the war. We must make sure the bill is not stalled when at committee stage."
The Irish government opposes the measure over "energy security" concerns.
Last year, Ireland enacted legislation that banned onshore fracking.
By 2018 Ocean Heroes: Claire MacQueen (13 years old), Sabine Thomas (13) and Ava Inskeep (14)
We despise single-use plastics. We want to keep our oceans and our beaches clean. Early last year I (Claire) lived in India for several months and became curious about plastic waste, as it was much more visible in India than back home in the U.S. Seeing all the plastic waste while I was visiting helped me to understand that much of the trash produced by the U.S. actually ends up in developing countries, like India, which does not have a proper waste management system like we do at home, which causes a ton of trash to end up in waterways and the ocean.
In a case watched closely both by polluting industries and clean water advocates across the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up an appeal of a Clean Water Act case out of Hawaii concerning treated sewage flowing into the Pacific Ocean from injection wells.