by Samantha Calthrop
Several environmentalist groups, including Slí Eile, Futureproof Clare, Future Generations Kerry and Shale Must Fall, staged an occupation of the site of a proposed natural gas plant in Kerry.
Approximately 25 activists from across Ireland camped overnight on the 600-acre site, where a proposed gas import terminal would process imported natural gas into electricity. The €650 million terminal, proposed by New Fortress Energy, would see 22.6 million cubic metres of gas brought into the plant per day – likely including fracked gas, the main reason behind protests.
The project was submitted to An Bord Pleanála on August 25 and is currently awaiting approval.
“This action sends a message to New Fortress Energy and the Irish government that this disastrous project is not welcome here or anywhere and will be fiercely resisted at every stage,” said Séamus Diskin of Slí Eile, one of the event’s spokespeople. “As the climate crisis reaches ‘code red for humanity’, building new fossil fuel infrastructure would be a catastrophic mistake that will increase Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and lock us into gas imports for decades.
“All of New Fortress Energy’s upstream operations involve fracked gas. Nowhere in Shannon LNG’s planning application does it commit to not using fracked gas.”
The Shannon LNG terminal is also expected to include several data planning centres. As stated in its planning application, by 2030 it would release about 963kt CO2e in emissions. This would be a 1.6% increase to current national greenhouse gas emissions, making the terminal one of the largest-emitting contributors in the country.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has previously issued statements that oppose LNG terminals in Ireland, but no legislative action has taken place against them. With data centres forming an important part of Ireland’s economic plans, and concerns about energy shortages in Ireland growing, it is unlikely that the project will be opposed by the government.
Aisling Wheeler of Futureproof Clare said, “Increasing GHG emissions at this point in time is immoral. Increasing methane emissions is particularly abhorrent as methane has a more immediate and stronger effect on temperature. Methane is 86% more potent as a GHG than carbon in the first 20 years after emission. The recent IPCC report says that deep cuts to methane emissions may buy us some time while we make the transition to fossil-free energy systems. We are at an important crossroads here and if we take a wrong turn, there is no going back.
“Building more fossil fuel infrastructure will contribute to catastrophic climate breakdown that will kill hundreds of millions of people and wipe out millions of other species.”