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Irish parliament votes to ban new oil exploration licences

oilrigatseaIreland's Dáil Éireann, the country's lower house of parliament, voted 78-48 last Thursday to push forward with a bill to stop the government from issuing new contracts for onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration.
 
The Irish government’s stance echoes that of Portugal with its pro-oil agenda, in the face of environmental objections and despite renewable energies representing the way forward in CO2 international obligations.
 
The Irish government has been pro-oil due to "energy security" concerns while Portugal’s states that finding oil or gas does not mean that extraction licences will be granted. Neither government’s stated reasons are deemed credible by opponents.
 
Ireland’s ‘Climate Emergency Measures Bill,’ introduced by the 'Solidarity - People Before Profit' MP, Bríd Smith, highlights fossil fuels as major contributors to climate change and how a switch to alternative energies will help the environment recover.
 
Smith argued that if the Paris climate agreement is to be taken at all seriously, parliament must support the new bill which now heads to the committee stage for review.
 
"Yesterday, the vote on the Climate Emergency Bill was a triumphant win in the struggle to stop climate chaos and environmental destruction," read a Tweet from Ireland's Green Party last Friday. "However, we have won the battle but not the war. We must make sure the bill is not stalled when at committee stage."
 
Anopther plus is that, in 2017, Ireland voted for a ban on all onshore fracking - for environmental reasons.
 
Portugal's government does not accept  the case for a halt to oil exploration. It has dismissed a 42,000 signature anti-oil petition and has extended a Galp-ENI exploration licence to enable test drilling off Aljezur this Spring.