Monday, November 20, 2006

Take the Climate Change Challenge and Save Tara!

The Climate Change Challenge - Conference and Survey

20 November 2006

Dear Sir/Madam,

You are invited participate in the Climate Change Challenge. This is a cross-party and inter-NGO initiative being taken in the wake of the recent EU and UK findings on the economics and climate change, the recent UN conference on climate change, and the release of the Irish Government Estimates in November 2006. It consists of three elements:

[1.] A conference focusing on climate change, transport and environment which will take place in Dublin on Saturday, 25th of November at 12.00pm. It will feature academic presentations, as well as debate from members of political parties. The conference will be held at the Royal Society of Antiquaries, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Admission is free and open to the public.

[2.] A survey, consisting of 10 yes or no questions, is being sent to all political parties, Oireachtas members and Meath County Councillors, on Monday 20th November. The survey questions involve a re-evaluation of Irish Government spending on capital infrastructure projects, which are part of Transport 21 and the National Development Plan 2006. Results of the survey will be released and discussed at the conference on the 25th.

[3.] Organisers of the Climate Change Challenge will attend the talk being given by Fred Barry, CEO of the National Roads Authority, entitled "Delivering the National Roads Network - Value for Money?" at Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin on Tuesday, 21st November 2006, 18.30. Survey questions will be put to Fred Barry after his presentation.


A Climate Change Challenge conference will be held at the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 on Saturday 25th November at 12.00pm.
Dr. Liam Leonard, of the Department of Politics and Sociology, NUI Galway, will deliver a paper entitled ‘The Politics of Climate Change and Heritage‘. A presentation will also be given by TaraWatch on the economics of transport. in Ireland, as well as the M3. Other guest speakers have yet to be confirmed. Dr. Leonard is author of Green Ireland; The Irish Environmental Movement From Carnsore Point to the Rossport 5 (Greenhouse Press, 2006).
All major political parties have been invited, and the following have agreed to participate:
- Sean Crowe TD, & Joe Reilly, Meath County Council, (Sinn Fein)
- Green Party spokesperson on Transport or Environment
- Cllr. Eugene Regan Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire County Council and
Dail Candidate (Fine Gael)
- Martin Hogan - National University of Ireland Senate candidate



A survey of 10 questions, also entitled The Climate Change Challenge, is being sent on Monday 20th November to all political parties, Oireachtas members, as well as members of Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority. The results will be published and discussed at the conference on the 25th November. The questions are as follows:

1. Do you agree with the basic premise of the October 2006 Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, which warns of catastrophic costs for the world economy if industrialized countries fail to take immediate action to stop global warming?

2. Do you agree with 66% of respondents to The Irish Times survey (Nov 18, 2006) that the UN Climate Change has not done enough to help prevent global warming?*

3. Do agree that the European Union is falling woefully short of its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and will need to take radical measures to achieve them, particularly in Transport which accounts for 22 per cent of EU emissions?

4. Do you agree with the finding of EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, (corroborated by the 2006 findings of Germanwatch which placed Ireland 33rd out of 55 nations on the climate change index) that unless Ireland takes radical action, we will fail to meet our national emission limits, which are binding under EU law?

5. Do you agree that in light of the new data of the enormously detrimental effects of transport on climate change and the economy that a new cost benefit analysis of Transport 21 (which will cost approximately €30-40 billion) should take place?

6. Do you agree with Danny McCoy, Director of Policy with Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), who said that “Prior assessment of capital investment projects is inadequate. Detailed cost benefit analyses must be an essential component of projects in the upcoming National Development Plan (which is set to cost €70 billion)?” [‘Improving the Efficiency of Public Spending’ Opinion -The Irish Times, 16-11-06]

7. Do you agree with Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche “taxing vehicles on the basis of the emissions” should begin in order to reduce carbon emissions and pay Kyoto fines or would you recommend that the Government follow the UK lead and bring in legislation to limit traffic congestion and set up a Climate Change committee that sets carbon targets and can enforce limits on emissions? [Irish Examiner 31-10-06]

8. Do you agree that the private multi-national companies, currently building and operating tolled motorways in Ireland, should pay taxes on the basis of carbon emissions produced by their operations, and should be prevented from passing these penalties onto the motorist through increased toll charges?

9. Do you agree with the Economic and Social Research Institute that investment in transport should remain a priority, but current targeted spending found in the Estimates should be reduced to €3.4 billion from €4 billion and in order to avoid having to raise taxes to pay for it?

10. Do you agree that public money should not be allocated to the M3 until a new cost/benefit analysis occurs, because the current one is very outdated in that:
(a) The current estimated cost of €600 million is based on year 2000 prices,
(b) It does not take the new climate change data into account,
(c) It does not factor in 3 other motorways running in close proximity (M1, M2, and M4),
(d) It does not factor in the Dublin to Navan railway being opened, and
(e) It does not take into account the fact that tolls be paid by citizens for 40 years and the profits will go out of the economy to Spanish multi-national investors.

Elaborate. Please feel free to give more than yes or no answers and also to add any other concrete immediate steps that you would make to reduce climate change due to carbon emissions, particularly those caused by transport.


* Irish Times online poll - Has the UN Climate Change conference done enough to help prevent global warming? 18-11-06]
33% YES
67% NO



Roads & Transportation Society Presents and Evening Lecture:
- "Delivering the National Roads Network - Value for Money?"
Presented by Fred Barry, CEO, National Roads Authority
Tuesday, 21st November 2006, 18.30
Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin
Fred Barry, Chartered Engineer and Chief Executive Officer of the National Roads Authority will address the issue of Value for Money in relation to the national roads development programme.
The key issues being discussed will include:
- Cost/benefit analysis on the national roads network
- The comparisons between Irish and other European countries captial
- The cost trends in Ireland and
- The industry capacity to deliver without sparking cost inflation.
Organisers of the Climate Change Survey will be present at the talk and verbally put some of the survey questions to Fred Barry. Mr Barry will be sent a copy of the survey in advance of the event.



The Climate Change Challenge is being jointly organised by Save Tara Valley group, Tara Vigil and TaraWatch, and the conference is being kindly hosted by the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
Kind regards,
Save Tara Valley - 087-6595-056
Tara Vigil - 086-1758-557
TaraWatch - 087-132-3365 -
Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland - (01) 676-1749

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