The Green Party says Donegal could be in line for major investment if they have their way.
Party candidate Michael White has called for a ‘Green New Deal’ for the county to drive a reduction in C02 emissions while boosting the local economy.
“The UN says we only have 10 years to avert catastrophic climate change,” said Mr White. “That is being driven by our C02 emissions, so we have to reduce those emissions as quickly as possible.
“The question is – how do we do that in Donegal?”
Mr White said his party was proposing a Green New Deal for the county. Key sources of emissions would be tackled one by one in a way that created jobs and opportunities for the people of Donegal.
“For example, the first step in the New Deal is to tackle energy efficiency,” he said. “That means making sure our homes are properly insulated, switching buildings over to low-power lighting and using power-efficient appliances in our homes and schools”.
The Green candidate is calling for a programme of retrofitting of existing homes across Donegal to make them more energy efficient. The local businessman claims this will create jobs and business opportunities for the next decade. And he said the Green Party’s policy of ‘just transition’ would focus on ensuring there are supports for people on low incomes.
Mr White also calls for a serious investment in public transport in the county. There is a proposed allocation of up to 20% of the national transport budget to the North West, focused on Donegal but including Leitrim and Sligo and connections to Derry and Tyrone.
He said: “We also need to invest in community energy cooperatives and give community owned power supplies priority access to the National Grid; introduce district heating schemes in urban areas like Letterkenny to make use of heat generated by industry and power generation; and allow homes with rooftop solar panels to sell excess energy to the national grid.”
Scientists have confirmed that the past five years were the warmest to date, and the 2010s were the hottest decade on record.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has warned that global warming exacerbated by rising emissions will increase flooding in the years ahead, due to more intense rainfall and a rise in sea levels, which will impact on low-lying areas.
Mr White said that one of Donegal County Council’s stated objectives is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions entering the atmosphere by over 300 carbon tonnes per annum by 2023. But he said that inaction on climate at local and national government level has meant national emissions continue to rise year on year, and miss targets set.
“Time is running out,” said Mr White. “I’m thinking about the kind of world our children will have to inhabit. If you are worried about the climate crisis then you should vote for the party that will tackle it seriously.”
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