Prevent a Fossil Fuel Free-for-All in Ireland

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Our journey so far in campaigning against new LNG infrastructure 

Over the last number of years, we have been campaigning against plans by the fossil fuel industry to build new infrastructure to import more gas into Ireland, in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). 

From a climate perspective it is essential to avoid such fossil gas lock-in, to break the fossil fuel industry's grip on policy-making, and for policy to drive down demand and use of gas, in order to stay within the binding carbon emissions limits set by the Dáil on a cross-party basis.

As part of this campaigning, we have been collaborating with grassroots activists to oppose U.S. energy firm New Fortress Energy’s Shannon LNG project to import fracked gas from the US.

That collaborative campaigning led to a 2021 Policy Statement from the Government against the importation of fracked gas and instituting a moratorium on LNG infrastructure. This is to remain in place while a comprehensive Energy Security Review is carried out. Thanks to this Government policy, we achieved a major result when An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for the Shannon LNG project in September 2023, which was a significant success for all the campaigners involved (albeit Shannon LNG are challenging the decision in court).

In November 2023, as part of a more wide-ranging package of energy policy developments that formed the initial outcome of the Energy Security Review, the Government decided it would establish a "Strategic Gas Emergency Reserve on a transitional basis for use in the event of a disruption to gas supplies", specifically accidental or deliberate damage to the twin interconnectors from Moffat in Scotland. It stated that the Government’s preferred option is to lease a floating LNG terminal, known as an FRSU, on a "temporary" basis.

A floating LNG terminal (FRSU) is not the right way to establish an emergency reserve. Any LNG import facility, even state-controlled, may tempt future governments to delay moving away from gas, which is crucial for preventing climate chaos. 

We are concerned that Government statements on the risk to our gas interconnectors to Scotland and the benefits of floating LNG as a backup are, at best, outdated. There are also massive risks associated with an FSRU, such as over-dependence on expensive gas and national security issues.

The Government has now tasked the gas network operator (GNI) with preparing a formal proposal for Government approval later this year that meets specific criteria, including not increasing gas demand and compliance with the obligations of the 2021 climate law. It has also stated it intends to maintain the prohibition on importing LNG from fracking and on developing commercial LNG terminals in Ireland. It is also worth noting that the current LNG moratorium remains in place.

However, the danger now is that the Government completes its assessment and decides without any climate ‘guardrails’ in place. 

The good news is that the Government has already committed to these conditions; they include making sure any reserve is temporary, for emergency use, does not increase gas demand, aligns with Ireland's climate obligations, and a continued moratorium on fracked gas imports . But no steps have been taken to put these conditions in place. 

Without these rules in place, there is a real risk a future Government will quietly drop the climate conditions altogether and allow fossil fuel companies like the one behind the Shannon LNG project to flood Ireland with more gas, blowing our pollution limits out of the water. Now is the time to ensure these climate conditions are permanently enshrined in regulation or law, not just policy.

You can act now and raise your voice for our health and safety by taking our e-action calling on Taoiseach Simon Harris, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Minister for Climate and Environment Eamon Ryan to enact strict climate rules regarding strategic gas storage.

Now is the time to ensure we get climate rules before gas storage!