A few years ago, who would have guessed that Skibbereen would be home to Olympic and World champion rowers? It just goes to show what can be done with talent, know-how and a lot of hard work.
Now let’s also work on tackling the climate crisis!
A group of local environmentally focussed organisations, led by Sustainable Skibbereenand Green Skibbereen,has set up a Sustainable Energy Community (SEC). The steering committee is spearheaded by Liam McLaughlin, a local expert on alternative energy and energy conservation.
The SECis committed to making Skibbereen carbon neutral by 2040 with an interim goal of a 50% reduction on energy-related emissions by 2030. These goals match the science behind the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015. Carbon neutral means that there will be no net increase in the release of carbon dioxide, with a corresponding reduction in our dependency on the harmful burning of fossil fuels.
The SEC willdraw up an Energy Master Plan (EMP) for Skibbereen town in the course of 2022. Funding has been obtained from the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) https://www.seai.ie/. The Master Plan will provide a pathway for the decarbonisation (reduction in carbon-dependent energy use) of homes, businesses, public services, and transport within the town.
The SEC calls itself Net Zero Skibbereen (NZS) and aims to achieve the target by engaging with the community and encouraging as many individuals and businesses as possible to learn about the causes and effects of climate change and to participate in efforts to decarbonise the town.
There are many challenges and barriers to achieving our goal. However, the benefits of reduced expenditure on energy, improved health and comfort are well worth the effort and will benefit everyone. After all, the downsides of continued inaction are potentially catastrophic in terms of extreme weather effects, rising sea levels, and biodiversity loss.
Ambitious? Yes! Will we achieve it? Like the Olympians, we can use the available talent and work hard in the right direction. We hope to raise as much, if not more, public support for this project as the Olympic rowers generated.
Anyone from the Skibbereen locality is more than welcome to get involved in this ambitious and critical initiative. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. As soon as a public meeting is called you’ll hear it first.Here, and on our Sustainable SkibbereenFacebook page!