Will Pope Francis’s climate change encyclical have a major impact?

The Pope is expected to publish an encyclical today (Thursday) in a continued effort to defend humanity and in particular the poor against the effects of climate change. In anticipation of the upcoming UN summit on climate change in December, Pope Francis will be urging world leaders to commit to reducing greenhouse emissions – in other words, massively reducing the burning of coal, oil and gas. The document, called ‘Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home,’ will portray climate change as a moral, rather than a political, issue and will focus on how many poor communities are, and will be, badly affected by climate change. The encyclical is likely to be critical of the ‘throw-away’ lifestyles of wealthier nations.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “Pope Francis is personally committed to this issue like no other pope before him. I do think the encyclical is going to have a major impact.” Recently in a sermon the Pope said, “If we destroy creation, creation will destroy us”. How the members of the Catholic Church react to the new encyclical and how it will affect the upcoming climate negotiations remains to be seen.

New Advisory Council on Climate Change

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D., announced the appointments to the National Expert Advisory Council on Climate Change to be established under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill. The group will comprise eleven members to advise Government Departments and agencies on the actions required to significantly decarbonise the Irish economy by 2050. The Advisory Council, which will be chaired by Professor John FitzGerald, will comprise 11 members in total and will include 4 members representing the EPA, ESRI, SEAI and Teagasc.

Oisin Coughlan of Friends of the Earth had a broad welcome for the Council but said; “The question now is will they be given the explicit legal protection to do their job independently and the resources to do it properly.” He went on to say;”There are a lot of economists on the Council. Six of the seven independent members are economists. The decision not to include a natural scientist is odd.” Commenting on the Climate Bill Oisin Coughlan said that it needs to needs to specify targets in order to make clear how much we’ll reduce emissions by 2050.

Free Insulation for Certain Social Welfare Recipients

You may be eligible for free attic & cavity wall insulation CAMCAS / SEAI Warmer Home Scheme. The conditions are that you own your own home and it was built before 2006, and you are in receipt of one of the following: Fuel Allowance; Family Income Supplement; Jobseekers allowance for over 6 months, and with a child under 7 years. Contact the CAMCAS office on 049 9527384’

Energy Upgrade for Castleblayney Homes with help of SEAI, local Credit Union & Kingspan

Castleblayney Credit Union & Kingspan have been awarded a SEAI grant (Better Energy Communities Projects) of over €30,000 to make 24 homes in the Castleblayney area more energy efficient. The Credit Union will be providing finance to the homeowners in order to carry out the energy upgrade work. Measures proposed include cavity wall insulation, ceiling level insulation, CFL lighting, high efficiency boilers, heating controls with remote access and mechanically assisted powered cleanse and magnetic filtration heating systems. Grants worth €18.6m have this week been awarded to 29 community energy initiatives nationally under this SEAI scheme. According to the Dept of Energy, the projects will between them improve the energy efficiency of 2,435 homes and 400 public, private and community buildings and are expected to deliver lifetime energy savings of €140m.

France Follows Netherlands in Plan to Ban Sale of Roundup in Garden Centres

The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was in March classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The weedkiller—used by amateur gardeners as well as farmers—is the star product of American biotechnology giant Monsanto. Now there are plans to ban Roundup from open sale to amateur gardeners in garden centres in the Netherlands and France. There has not yet been any announcement by the authorities here in Ireland about the sale of Roundup.

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