Not sure what to ask politicians about climate action? One Future wants to help

23 Jan 2020281 Views

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Image: One Future

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One Future is offering households materials to help them challenge election candidates on key policy issues relating to the climate crisis.

On Wednesday (22 January), a new campaign group calling for faster and fairer climate action was launched at an event on Sandymount Strand in Dublin.

The group, entitled One Future, represents a number of civil society organisations such as the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), charity agency Concern and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI).

These groups are joining forces in the run-up to next month’s general election to encourage people to challenge candidates on the doorstep about their climate action plans, particularly in the area of emissions reductions, where Ireland needs to make greater strides.

One Future’s objectives

As part of the campaign, One Future will provide people with ‘ask cards’, which they can hand to candidates to hear their opinions on key policy issues. The campaign is also distributing window stickers to tell canvassers that they support faster and fairer climate action.

The campaign will also be supporting people who want to go door-to-door to distribute campaign materials and encourage their neighbours to raise climate issues with candidates who call to their doors.

One Future has nine key requests for soon-to-be-elected TDs and Senators, which focus on accelerating a transition to a sustainable society in a way that ensures no one is left behind.

These requests include a reduction in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 8pc every year and support for the rural economy as farms reduce emissions and become more sustainable, with a ban on any new fossil fuel projects.

One Future is also calling for the end of peat and coal burning for electricity and to ensure fair treatment of workers in these industries. The campaign wants to see the State deliver an ambitious home insulation programme to minimise the need for burning fossil fuels, and it is calling on the Government to restore and protect nature and wildlife in Ireland.

Finally, One Future wants to ensure that everyone in the country has access to affordable public transport and that community-owned renewable energy projects receive more support.

‘Climate action is not a trade-off’

Oisín Coghlan, director of Friends for the Earth Ireland and spokesperson for One Future, said: “One Future is a people’s campaign to turn the tables on election candidates. We want to empower people to challenge politicians to commit to faster and fairer climate action.

“Recent studies show that 89pc of Irish adults say we need to take action now on environment, while 60pc of adults say prioritising climate action is very important. With One Future, we want to highlight how great a priority climate action is for the electorate, to election candidates.

“Every party is paying lip service to climate action in this election. One Future will help people test whether politicians are promising to do enough and whether they are promising to make sure what they do is fair.

“Climate action is not a trade-off with better public services. Climate action is about about better public services. It is not a trade-off with job creation and economic opportunity; it is about job creation and economic opportunity.”

‘The talking point of the general election’

Coghlan added that for One Future’s requests to be met, there will be a need for “serious Government investment” in public transport, social housing and community energy projects.

He said that the benefits of this investment will be visible to citizens who will have warmer homes, better bus, train, cycling and walking infrastructure, and opportunities to share in the ownership of the energy system that will power the future.

“We’re looking forward to a busy few weeks in the lead up to 8 February, making #ClimateVote2020 the talking point of the general election,” Coghlan said.

Some of the other groups supporting One Future include Oxfam Ireland, An Taisce, Irish Doctors for the Environment and BirdWatch Ireland.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com