Tag Archives: Climate

Climate Change issues

Partnership for Active Travel and Health – COP 28 Letter signed by Cyclist.ie

As Cyclist.ie has called for throughout its campaigning history, we need bold action to promote walking and cycling as part of the process of decarbonising our transport systems.

As COP28 takes place in Dubai, Cyclist.ie is proud to be joining hundreds of NGOs in signing a joint letter from The Partnership for Active Travel and Health to call on world leaders to promote active travel in facing the climate crisis – but we need more to join our open call!

Active travel delivers more than any other transport mode when it comes to sustainable development and climate action. If more people were enabled to walk and cycle safely, it could reduce transport emissions by as much as 50%!

Yet, the recent PATH report on the climate plans of UNFCCC countries – see here – reveals that only eight countries have properly linked walking and cycling with their climate plans!

Join us and call for bolder action by signing PATH’s COP28 letter.




Health Groups Call for Political Leadership on BusConnects, Not Scaremongering

Last week, an alliance of health, medical, environmental and sustainable transport advocates joined forces to call for the urgent implementation of BusConnects, the Government’s plan to improve public transport, cycling and walking, and reduce carbon emissions in Ireland’s major urban centres.

The press release circulated for the event (on 23 August 2023) can be read below, and a summary of the extensive media coverage that ensued on the back of the press event can be read here.


Members of the alliance include the Irish Heart Foundation, the Irish College of General Practitioners, Irish Doctors for the Environment, Royal College of Physicians, the Irish Pedestrian Network and Cyclist.ie, the national cycling advocacy network. At the launch in Dr Steeven’s Hospital on Wed 23rd August, Dr. Sean Owens of the Irish College of General Practitioners said, “BusConnects will provide more reliable, punctual bus services, better footpath and crossing facilities for pedestrians, and joined-up bike lanes across Dublin and other cities. Regular physical activity has been found to be one of the most sustainable ways of improving health. Designing a transport system that builds in some level of exercise, whether that be a 10 min walk at either end of a bus journey or a cycle to work or school, is the easiest way of achieving this. Active travel projects will have significant public health benefits and we need our public representatives to stand up and support them.”

At recent public meetings in Cork and Dublin, political support for BusConnects was lukewarm at best. Projects are at risk of being delayed or watered down unnecessarily. It is vital that public representatives give their full backing to these projects so that their many health, environmental and public realm benefits can be realised as quickly as possible. Members of the Active Travel Coalition, established in 2021, share the goal of enabling people of all ages to have healthier choices in transport. Active travel is defined as any functional transport that involves physical exercise, such as walking or cycling, and includes the use of public transport.

BusConnects is a Government-led initiative to reorganise bus routes in five main cities and construct continuous bus lanes, connected cycle lanes and enhanced footpaths and crossings for pedestrians. Roisin Breen from the HSE’s Strategy and Research group added that “Supporting healthy behaviours from childhood through to healthy ageing is a key pillar of the HSE Healthy Ireland Plan for 2023-27. The plan calls for a shift towards a culture that places greater emphasis and value on prevention and keeping people well.

One of the key focus areas in the plan is on active living. BusConnects helps facilitate active living which will keep people healthier longer.

In addition The HSE Climate Action Strategy 2023-2050 includes action to enable transition to low carbon and active travel alternatives for people working in, visiting and using our services.” Buses are the backbone of our public transport so supporting an expanded and more effective bus system makes sense. In Dublin for example, buses carry more passengers than car, rail or Luas. Major rail projects take many years just to obtain planning permission, and cost many times what a bus lane would.


“Ireland has a transport problem, but more specifically a car problem”



…said Dr. Colm Byrne, consultant geriatrician and member of Irish Doctors for the Environment. “We rank only behind Cyprus as the most car-dependent country in the EU, with 76 per cent of people using a car as their daily transport, with even very short journeys done by car.”

According to Mark Murphy, advocacy officer with the Irish Heart Foundation, “30 minutes of moderate intensity activity, such as walking or cycling, five days a week, reduces your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, and contributes to overall improved levels of health”.

Cycling has immense pent-up demand, according to the Coalition, and cycle traffic would be greatly increased by BusConnects. “In Dublin, for example, roughly 25% of adults cycle one or more days per week. There is a further 21% who would cycle if they felt safer. The #1 reason given by people for not cycling is fear of sharing road space with motor traffic. With safe segregated cycling infrastructure therefore, we could almost double the numbers of adults cycling in Dublin. This is to not even consider the potential for growth in schoolkids cycling to school. Cycling can be an option for almost everyone if we design for it correctly. Segregated bike lanes will be delivered alongside the improved bus routes as part of BusConnects,” said David Timoney of Cyclist.ie.

Air pollution improvements, reduced congestion and addressing our carbon reduction commitments were cited by the Coalition as ‘co-benefits’ that improved bus, pedestrian and cycling facilities would bring. However the Coalition pointed out some issues with the plans. ”We’re aware of weaknesses in the designs, and we do acknowledge that the loss of private garden space and the inconvenience of losing habitual car park spaces are difficult for those affected,” said Timoney, “but we are convinced that BusConnects will bring such major benefits to the public good – improvements in peoples’ cardiovascular and respiratory health, even their sense of general wellbeing – that any losses will be far outweighed by the gains”.

Further details and documents available on the Dublin Cycling Campaign website here.  

Erasmus+ trip to Portugal – Seeking Cyclist.ie Ambassadors

Cyclist.ie is part of an incredibly exciting European Commission funded Erasmus+ project with themes of cycling promotion, social inclusion, intergenerational relationships and climate action – as we announced back in October 2022 after receiving the news of our application’s success.  

Cyclist.ie has already taken part in two successful “Learning, Teaching and Training” (LTT) trips with the other project partners so far in 2023, with stories posted on these here for our LTT in Corella in Spain and here for our LTT held in Waterford.

The next LTT will take place in Azambuja in Portugal from Thu 12 to Tue 17 October 2023 with a wonderfully diverse programme of activities planned by the local partner organisation, Agrupamento de Escolas de Azambuja, and Cyclist.ie is looking for ambassadors to represent us on the trip. Broadly we are looking to form a small team (of around 4 or 5 persons) which will bring some new faces and some consistency to the project, and we invite active members of Cyclist.ie to apply to attend. The full costs of travel, accommodation, meals and activities are covered under the project fund. 

We are asking you to send us a one page letter (say, 400 words max) explaining why you would like to apply to represent Cyclist.ie at this international LTT. We particularly welcome applications from (i) members of Cyclist.ie groups that have not yet taken part in the LTTs to date, and (ii) those in the 18-30 cohort (since Erasmus+ projects have a particular focus on younger adults). 

Please send your letter to our National Cycling Coordinator at [email protected] by latest Monday 04 Sept 2023 (11.59pm!). Applications will be assessed by a team comprising members of the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee (plus, possibly, members of the Board of DCC CLG / Cyclist.ie). The criteria for assessing applications are set out in Appendix I below – these should guide you as you prepare your letter of application. The plan is for applications to be assessed and for successful candidates to be contacted in early September with a view to booking travel arrangements at the soonest possible date so as to keep costs down.  

If you have any questions on any of the above, please email [email protected] by latest Mon 28 August and we will respond to all queries ASAP after this date.    

Many thanks.
The Cyclist.ie Executive Committee


Appendix I – Criteria for Assessing Applications for Partaking in the LTT trip to Azambuja in Portugal as an Ambassador for Cyclist.ie  

CriterionDetailsMarks
1Member of a Cyclist.ie Member GroupThe current list of groups is here. Please confirm that you are a member of your local cycling advocacy group – and include a copy of a short email from your group Chairperson or Coordinator confirming that (i) you are a member of that group and (ii) your Chair / Coordinator supports your application for being an ambassador for Cyclist.ie on the LTT. Mandatory
2Active in your local groupPlease describe in your letter of application what you have been active in within your own cycle campaigning / advocacy group, particularly over the last year. Extra marks for those who have been on the organising / Executive Committee of the local group and/or of Cyclist.ie.35
3Enthusiasm, experience working with younger groups and broader skills!The Erasmus+ trips are very much convivial gatherings of diverse people, brought together under common themes. If you are especially sociable / easy to get along with, or perhaps you play an instrument or sing a song or do a dance, or have experience working with younger groups (maybe in outdoor settings), please let us know in your application! These softer ‘people skills’ are valued a lot in this project where it’s all about nurturing exchange between diverse groups.35
4Younger adults Erasmus+ focuses particularly on the youth and younger adults (see here), so we are especially keen that within the Cyclist.ie delegation we have at least some members who are under 30 years of age. Let us know if you are under 30 (but also 18 years or over) – while noting that people of all ages are very welcome to apply! We are aiming to have a group of a mixture of ages representing us.  10
5Language SkillsThere are partners on the project from Spain, Portugal and Poland so it would be advantageous if you have (even basic) conversational Spanish, Portuguese or Polish. Please let us know in your application. 10
6Organised / Can help out with some basic adminBesides the trips themselves, there is an amount of admin support work to help to manage the project well – plus a need to post lively / informative web articles and blog posts. Let us know in your letter of application if you are prepared to help out with this and/or if you have experience writing articles of various types. You will receive guidance and training on this as needed / appropriate.10
Additional Criterion to be used in assessing all applications collectively, after the initial individual assessment has been completed
7DiversityFor this project, we are keen for the Cyclist.ie delegation to be diverse in every sense of the term. We are especially keen to have a good spread of active members of our network from all around the country, both urban and rural, with a good gender balance and mix of backgrounds. Do please tell us a bit about yourself in your application! 

Get your favourite Climate and Environment charity in the running for £5,000 today!

NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN!
17th – 21st July
In recognition of all the charities who work tirelessly to support the Climate and Environment, Benefact Group are giving 10 charities £5,000 each in this limited-time special draw.
All you need to do is nominate a charity whose core charitable purpose is to protect and conserve the natural environment and/or combat climate factors such as preventing global temperature increase.
Click here to nominate us. Search for ‘Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG’

Transport Emissions Continue in the Wrong Direction – Press Release

Transport Emissions Continue in the Wrong Direction – Urgent Pivots in Policy, Practice and the Sponsorship of Media Programs Needed

Cyclist.ie is incredibly concerned by the latest data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that show transport as by far the worst performing sector in Irish society and the economy in terms of tackling its emissions. 

The EPA’s data, as issued on 13 July 2023 (see [1] and [2] below), show that transport emissions increased by 6 per cent in 2022; transport’s emissions were 10.978 Mt CO2 eq in 2021 and this increased to 11.634 Mt CO2 eq in 2022. The EPA reports that “overall higher transport activity – both private cars and freight transport – is eroding the impact of electric vehicles.” 

Cyclist.ie is deeply disturbed by the absence of real and urgent action in transforming our transport system so that we can enter a rapid period of decarbonising the sector. We know from our legally binding sectoral emissions ceilings that transport needs to halve its emissions from 12 MtCO2eq (2018 figures) to 6 MtCO2eq by 2030 [2]. Furthermore, we are all acutely aware that the EPA’s figures have been released in the week that a heat wave is sweeping across parts of southern Europe, and temperatures are expected to surpass 40C (104F) in parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia and Turkey. [3] National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, stated “we are simply on the wrong trajectory with transport. At this point, emissions from transport need to be reducing every single year from here on in – not rising by 6% in a single year”. He continued:

“We need rapid action in multiple domains immediately. We need to be increasing further the spend on high quality active travel schemes and the ‘quick-wins’ with enhancing public transport provision. When are we going to see a halt to the domination of our airwaves by adverts urging us to buy ever-bigger Sports Utility Vehicles for our micro-urban trips? When are we going to have our most popular public radio and TV shows not sponsored by car companies with the evitable framing of ‘normal life’ as being characterised by owning super-sized 2000+ kg metal boxes?” 

Cyclist.ie asks – “where are the political and business leaders articulating a vision of a low carbon future where one can lead a fulfilled life without owning climate destructive personal transport vehicles? Where is the moral leadership on all of this?” Cyclist.ie points to the leadership shown in Paris recently where city hall is to impose higher parking fees on owners of SUVs in its battle to reduce pollution in the capital [4]. Vice-Chairperson of Cyclist.ie, Dave Tobin, added “We need similar policies introduced in Irish cities so as to completely rebalance how mobility happens. Without such urgent action, we are complicit in passing on a burning planetary ball to our children to deal with.” This is the opposite of the mature and responsible approach we now need. 

ENDS

Notes for Editors
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, which brings together 35 groups/branches around Ireland who are campaigning locally on cycling safety and promotion, is the organised voice for cycling advocacy in Ireland. It was founded in 2008, building on the campaigning work of its founding member groups, who themselves came into being in the early and mid 1990s in response to the virtual exclusion of cycling and walking from transport policy and practice, and to the massive danger posed to walkers and cyclists by the systematic growth in motorised mobility. https://cyclist.ie/  

[1]  https://www.epa.ie/news-releases/news-releases-2023/irelands-2022-greenhouse-gas-emissions-show-a-welcome-decrease-but-much-work-remains-to-be-done.php 

[2] https://www.epa.ie/our-services/monitoring–assessment/climate-change/ghg/latest-emissions-data/

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-66183069

[4] https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/dab6d-government-announces-sectoral-emissions-ceilings-setting-ireland-on-a-pathway-to-turn-the-tide-on-climate-change/

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/11/paris-charge-suv-drivers-higher-parking-fees-tackle-auto-besity

Politicians Get on Their Bikes for National Bike Week

Press Release – For Immediate Use

Dáil / Oireachtas Politicians Get on Their Bikes for National Bike Week  

National Bike Week Event
Date: Tuesday 16th May
Time: 1pm

Location:  Front Gate / Kildare Street side of Leinster House, and along the cycle route

National Bike Week is well under way, with hundreds of events taking place all across the country between Saturday 13th May and Sunday 21st May. 

There is literally ‘something for everyone’, on every day of the week, at a location near you – from fun cycles to film shows to bike repairs to adventure cycles and family events and festivals. Check out the National Bike Week 2023 website for full details.  

But our Dáil / Oireachtas politicians are also showing the way and taking time out of their schedules to demonstrate the role of the bicycle in tackling climate change and making a difference in terms of our transport choices. On Tuesday 16th May at 1pm a range of our politicians from all party persuasions will get on their bikes, and cycle a circular route around the Leinster House complex (see poster route below).

This will be an opportunity to engage with politicians from all parties who are coming together to show how cycling is a key pillar of both our national transport and climate targets.

Climate Action Plan 2023 – Cyclist.ie (Interim) Response

Cyclist.ie welcomes the publication of the Climate Action Plan 2023 (CAP23) with Chapter 15 (pages 183-212) dealing with transport. 

We observe generally that this document is a synthesis of many already-announced government commitments in the sustainable transport domain. 

However, Cyclist.ie notes and welcomes that CAP23 targets have been revised to meet the higher level of ambition (compared to CAP21), including a 20% reduction in total vehicle kilometres, a reduction in fuel usage, and significant increases to sustainable transport trips and modal share (p184).

This is significant in that the assumption underpinning pretty much all transport modelling conducted in Ireland over recent decades was that vehicle kilometres would continue to grow (and therefore, as the argument went, road capacity would need to increase). We are now in a new era when we have an explicit understanding and acknowledgement by government that we need to operate under an “Avoid – Shift – Improve” framework as set out in the 2020 EPA State of the Environment Report (shown below) and now inscribed into the CAP23. 

Cyclist.ie also notes the recognition within CAP23 of the OECD report’s findings  (see here) that the Irish transport system embeds car-dependency and increased emissions by design, and again that the Avoid-Shift-Improve framework for transport sustainability needs to be applied to categorise all actions. And we welcome the statement that a “net-zero decarbonisation pathway for transport must seek to reduce demand, through mechanisms that lessen or avoid the need for unnecessary travel by unsustainable means. This Climate Action Plan reframes the previous pathway outlined in CAP21 under the Avoid-Shift-Improve Framework.” (p187)

We note that CAP23 puts additional emphasis on the need to engage the citizen on climate action and sustainable mobility (p194). This systematic engagement has been largely missing from government action in relation, for example, to conveying the many benefits of reallocating road space to public transport and active travel users and away from private individualised motorised transport. Cyclist.ie would be in a position to contribute to the National Sustainable Mobility Stakeholder Forum on its establishment (Table 15.7).

Cyclist.ie notes and broadly supports the 67 Actions (listed on pages 210 to 212) in relation to decarbonising transport, and we look forward to taking a close look at the implementation maps for actions, including timelines and responsible organisations that will be set out in the accompanying Annex. 

At this point, we know that we will need strong and persuasive leadership at national, local and community levels to nurture public understanding of and support for the many measures that, cumulatively, will help to turn the transport ship in a sustainable direction. We need urgent action!

We look forward to engaging with the relevant national and local agencies and our own members in 2023, with a view to examining closely the CAP23 Annex of Actions and supporting their implementation.

Call for cycling ‘superhighways’ & less car use to cut transport emissions

The development of “cycle superhighways” in major cities where there is greatly-curtailed private car use, transport-led housing plans and increasing road charges are recommended in a new report by the Oireachtas Climate Action Committee.

Ireland should fundamentally redirect transport policy and apply the internationally recognised “avoid-shift-improve” approach to cutting emissions in the sector, according to its report issued on Thursday.

Full article (Irish Times)

Share One Future Candidate Pledge

Four days to go – every action, tweet and conversation before polling day matters

We really need your help getting the One Future demands out into the eyes and ears of voters and candidates – so that our next government know that Irish people want faster fairer climate action.Action:  One Future Candidate Pledge

We want to flood candidate inboxes with the One Future Pledge. We’re asking people to take the e-action on the One Future website sending emails to candidates asking them to sign the One Future pledge with 9 key demands. Email your candidates here at the link.

One Future asked Dr Cara Augustenborg, Prof John Sweeney and Sadhbh O’Neill to score the party’s manifestos against the One Future demands, check it out here at the link.

Manifesto Assessment Slide 4.jpg

Please share these actions with your colleagues, supporters and networks. We need to reach lots of people before February 8th.

Thanks for you support!

Claudia and team at One Future

Minister Bruton Publishes Draft Scheme of New Climate Law

  • Carbon budgets to be required by law
  • Decarbonisation targets for each sector
  • Sale of fossil fuel cars banned by 2030

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. today (Monday,  6th of January) published the Draft General Scheme of the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill 2019 and confirmed that it is priority legislation for the Government in the new Dáil term.

The Climate Action Plan, published earlier this year, is the Government’s plan to ensure we radically reduce our emissions in every sector to ensure we meet our future climate commitments, putting us on a trajectory to be net zero by 2050.

Minister Bruton said: “Governance and accountability are at the heart of the Climate Action Plan. We are putting in place the legislative underpinning to ensure the radical step up required is delivered.” The Bill aims to enshrine in law the approach outlined in the Climate Action Plan, including:

  • Establishing a 2050 emissions reduction target in law
  • Making the adoption of carbon budgets a legal requirement
  • Strengthening the role of the Climate Action Council in recommending the appropriate climate budget and policies
  • Requiring the Government to set a decarbonisation target range for each sector. The Minister with primary responsibility for each sector will be accountable for delivering the relevant actions to meet the sectoral target and for reporting annually on the delivery of their actions and the achievement of sectoral emission targets
  • Giving the Oireachtas a central role in the setting of the carbon budget and overseeing progress to delivery
  • Banning the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2030
  • Establishing that the Climate Action Plan shall be updated annually, with actions in every sector

Minister Bruton said,

Minister Bruton said: “We must act now and leave a better, healthier, more sustainable Ireland for future generations. Accountability is the key to making progress. We have a very short time to act. We must put in place a strong framework to ensure every sector, every policy, every decision delivers on the transformation that is required. Today represents a hugely important step in putting in place the necessary arrangements to achieve this objective.”

Climate Action Council: The 2019 Climate Action Plan commits to establish the Climate Action Council (the Council), which will replace the existing Climate Change Advisory Council. The Plan also describes additional powers which the successor Council will possess, in addition to the existing powers set out under sections 11, 12 and 13 of the 2015 Act.

Head 6 makes provision for the name change while head 7 introduces amendments to effect the following:

  • Inclusion of a fifth ex-officio ordinary member of the Climate Action Council – the Director of the Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann
  • A requirement that in so far as is practicable there will be gender balance on the Council
  • That all Council members including the Chairperson will serve a maximum of two terms
  • That the Council will benefit from the capacity to retain expertise over time by members serving staggered terms of office
  • The Climate Action Council will establish an advisory committee in relation to climate adaptation

Head 8 provides that the Climate Action Council will be given new functions to provide recommendations to the Minister on the development and adoption of a series of appropriate economy wide carbon budgets (each covering a five year period) as per the requirements of the Climate Action Plan.

Heads 9 and 10 provide for updating and streamlining the performance review responsibilities of the Council with regard to its new function on carbon budgets while also updating requirements for a periodic review.

Carbon Budgets

The Climate Action Plan 2019 indicates that the Bill will introduce the adoption of carbon budgets as a legal requirement. In this regard, the draft General Scheme outlines that the Government will adopt a system of carbon budgets as part of a grouping of three five-year periods calculated on an economy-wide basis, starting with the periods 2021 to 2025, 2026 to 2030, and 2031 to 2035.

Head 12 which deals with the setting of carbon budgets, provides that the Climate Action Council is to advise the Minister on the appropriate three five-year carbon budgets and, based on this advice, the Minister will prepare three five-year carbon budgets for Government approval. These will include the recommended carbon budget permitted in each five-year carbon budget period and a decarbonisation range for each relevant sector for the five-year period within the ceiling of the proposed carbon budgets.

The head further provides that once adopted, the Minister shall propose a motion in  the Oireachtas to consider the carbon budget. If the  Government’s proposed carbon budget is rejected, then the Minister shall present an alternative budget (approved by Government) within a specified time period taking account of any recommendations made by the Oireachtas.

Long-term target

Work is continuing to finalise the government’s Long Term Climate Strategy to 2050. A public consultation on the Strategy closed on 31st December and the submissions received are now being reviewed. The long term strategy will set our 2050 climate target, which will then  inform the legal provision to be drafted for inclusion in the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill 2019. The Government has already backed the adoption of a net zero target at EU level and will continue to support this level of ambition going forward.

Banning the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2030

A draft Head is being developed in consultation with the relevant Government Departments to address the commitment in the National Development Plan and Climate Action Plan to introduce legislation to ban the registration of new fossil fuel cars from 2030 and to stop the granting of NCTs from 2045 (Head 16 is acting as a placeholder). In effect, from 2030 it will not be possible to register any new car which runs on fossil fuel. This will be developed further in consultation with the relevant Departments concerned and will be submitted to Government for approval in the New Year.