Wednesday 29 November 2006

Climate change and planning - a survey from Tara Watch

Climate Change Challenge Survey Results Reveal Political Party Positions on Transport Policy and Spending’

Posted in News, Transport, Tolls, Climate Change at 4:24 pm by Vincent


‘Climate Change Challenge Survey Results Reveal Political Party Positions on Transport Policy and Spending’

Results of a survey of political party’s views on climate change were received on Friday 24th November, revealing divergent views of transport related issues. A 10 question, Climate Change Challenge, survey was sent on Monday 20th November to all political parties, Oireachtas members, as well as members of Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority. The results were to be published and discussed at a conference on Saturday, 25th November. However, that conference had to be postponed until the new year, due to a scheduling conflict at the venue.

The responses revealed unanimous agreement that climate change is a very important issue but highlighted crucial differences between the political parties in their approach to meeting the climate change challenge, particularly in the area of transport spending.

Questions included issues of green taxes on motorists, new legislation, toll roads and whether there should be a new cost-benefit analysis of Transport 21 and the upcoming 2007 National Development Plan in light of the new data on the effects of climate change on the economy.

Scheduled to speak at the conference were Dr. Liam Leonard of the Department of Sociology and Politics, NUI Galway and Pat Finnegan of GRIAN, the Greenhouse Ireland Action Network. Then there was to be a panel discussion, featuring Cllr. Eugene Regan (FG), Sean Crowe, TD (SF), Cllr. Dermot Lacey (Lab), Ciaran Cuffe, TD (GP), and Senate candidate Martin Hogan (Ind).

Answers to the survey were received from Fiona O’Malley, TD (PD); Eamon Gilmore, TD, (Lab); Cllr. Eugene Regan (FG); Ciaran Cuffe, TD; and Dr. Liam Leonard. They are provided after each question below. Sinn Fein would not doubt have given their views at the conference and Fianna Fail did not send a response, nor send a delegate to the conference. It is hoped that they will respond to a more comprehensive survey that will now be sent to all parties in advance of the rescheduled conference.

The Climate Change Challenge was initiated by NGOs campaigning on transport and environment issues in County Meath, and that county will be used as a case study for analysing government policy and spending on transport. However, it is hoped that it will create a forum for all political parties, NGOs and the public to join in ongoing debate on how to tackle the climate change challenge in Ireland.

Joanne Corbett, one of the organisers, said:

“Climate change is the most important issue currently facing Ireland, and unlike most other countries, we have not yet begun our national conversation on how to address it.

“This is about real and immediate choices being made now, particularly in Government spending on transport, in response to a clear and present threat to our way of life, both in Ireland and around the world.

“We are very pleased that so many of the political parties, as well as groups like GRIAN and Friends of the Earth, agreed to respond to our survey and participate in the conference. And we do hope that we will have all of the parties participating soon.

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