Ban petroleum licensing now!

There are two major applications for petroleum and exploratory drilling underway in NI. The first, would give a firm called EHA Exploration the right to drill in search for oil and gas across Lough Neagh, Tyrone, Armagh and into parts of Belfast. The second application, submitted by Tamboran Resources (UK) Limited, would give them access to land in Co Fermanagh.

Public health not private greed

The pollutants from fracking and exploratory drilling have been linked to adverse health effects on people. Toxic chemicals and heavy metals released as part of the process have been linked to adverse neurodevelopmental. Air pollution from fossil fuels and drilling is known as the “invisible killer.” It can lead to respiratory, cardiovascular and other diseases. The proposals for drilling will damage the lives of working class people.

For Green Jobs

The current proposals will enrich the pockets of a tiny few at the expense of public health and the health of the planet. A leaked report estimated that only 100 – 115 jobs would be created as part of this process while private corporations would stand to make millions. We have to take on the private polluters, not placate them! The energy sector should be taken into public ownership, under the democratic control of ordinary people and the resources should be directed into transforming our economy into a green economy creating 1000s of jobs and allowing us to tackle climate change..

No more “blah,blah,blah” from Stormont

Despite their pretences of standing in the interests of the planet, politicians here have played a role in facilitating the petroleum liscieng and fracking. Under pressure Sinn Fein have brought forward a private members bill to block the license for drilling but this is meaningless unless it includes an outright ban. On top of this Northern Ireland has the highest household carbon emissions per population size in the United Kingdom. This is despite the Oxford economist pointing to the fact that the North has a strong base of industries that could support the green economy, particularly in its energy sector. Local politicians are more interested in climate posturing than climate action.

We need a Socialist Climate Action Plan that would implement a massive green jobs and public works programme that builds new green industries and carry out the transition to 100% renewable energy and build a sustainable economy.

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The UN conference on climate change (Cop15), held in Copenhagen 7-18 December, was a fiasco. The Independent called it “a historic failure that will live in infamy”. After years of preparation, the representatives of 193 countries discussed and wrangled for two weeks. In the closing hours, leaders such as Barak Obama and Wen Jinbao (and Gordon Brown) flew in, supposedly to break the deadlock. All of them accepted the urgency of reaching agreement. Unless global warming is limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the planet faces catastrophe. But no agreement was reached, let alone the framework for a binding international treaty, Cop15’s original aim. Backroom discussions between the US, China and a handful of neo-colonial states (Brazil, India, South Africa, etc) produced an ‘accord’ – a brief memo of vague aims and even vaguer pledges. Completely sidelined, the Cop15 assembly merely ‘noted’ the accord. Almost immediately, China’s representative, Su Wei, announced that, as it was not a formal UN agreement, China reserved the right to repudiate even the accord.