At their last County Council meeting, a discussion was held on the response of Leitrim to climate change. Councillor Sean McDermott proposed a motion designating Leitrim as a “Carbon Neutral” county with renewable energy compensating for our carbon emissions, proposing that this would have spin-off for the county in terms of tourism and our green image. Various councillors were concerned at the cost implications of this designation as well as its impact on farmers.
“We welcome the inclusion of climate change on the Council agenda,” said Aedín McLoughlin, spokesperson, GEAI. “However, we cannot throw dubious figures around and assume that renewable energy generation can be a ‘magic bullet’ that will solve the problem of carbon emissions, even though both solar and wind have huge potential. Making Leitrim sustainable and truly “green” will take far more than that, we have to look at every aspect of our lives – living, working and travelling – and question how we do things.”
Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) has four dedicated volunteers at present working on the Leitrim Cróga* project, carrying out a baseline study of current carbon emissions in Leitrim. Their research will give a more accurate picture of the starting point for Leitrim as a county and results of this survey are expected in September. Following this study, in collaboration with local and statutory authorities and community groups, they will be developing strategies for a resilient, low carbon and sustainable county.
“It is already clear that there are three major areas that need improvement,” continued McLoughlin, “Our housing stock, which in general needs up-grading to higher efficiency; our poor public transport system leading to over-reliance on cars; and our farms, which need more diversification and new streams of income. In addition, we have to address local issues around forestry, peatlands and wind farms. We need to look at new ways and better ways of doing things – ways to improve quality of life for everyone; ways to sustainably generate more income, new jobs and local jobs while reducing energy use. Our current climate crisis challenges us all to adapt to a changing world and to make it a better world for all who live in, work in and visit Leitrim.” *Cróga (Brave): Carbon Reduction Options for Generational Advantage