Thursday, 3 October 2019
Development of a Liquefied Natural Gas Facility in Ireland: Statements
The only reason this is being discussed is that climate activists, Deputy Bríd Smith and People Before Profit badgered the Minister and forced the debate. Now that we have forced the debate on the Minister, he should refrain from putting forward this terminal for liquid natural gas from fracked sources as a priority project to the European Commission tomorrow. He has no democratic right to do so. He has not told the House the truth. As recently as yesterday, the Taoiseach misled the House by saying it was not necessarily going to be fracked gas that would come in through this terminal. That was not true, as Deputy Bríd Smith has just outlined. The company that will bring the gas through the terminal has said it will overwhelmingly be fracked gas. Unless Government members wish to be guilty, as I believe they are, of being complete climate hypocrites, how can they say fracking is unacceptable here as it would poison our environment and human health but is fine where it poisons the health and environment of people in Pennsylvania? It is rotten hypocrisy in terms of the Government's claimed commitment to addressing the climate emergency.
If this terminal goes ahead, we will be locked into importing fracked gas, which is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels when one takes into account the methane it produces. That methane holds in heat and warms the planet by a multiple factor when compared to what CO2 does. It is actually more damaging. At the very least, the Government should allow a vote on this proposal. It is outrageous that we would sign up to and approve a major infrastructural project tomorrow when the Government is not telling the truth about it, when the House has not discussed it and while the Government is being absolutely hypocritical about the damage it will do to the climate and people in the United States of America.
Of course, there is a considerable opportunity cost to this when the Minister says this is a transitionary fuel. If we allow hundreds of millions of euro to be spent on building a terminal to bring in toxic, fracked gas, that is hundreds of millions that are not being spent on developing the renewable energy we actually need to deal with the climate emergency.