Climate change and local politics


Sir, – As has been widely reported, councillors in Galway will shortly be voting on whether or not to trial a cycleway along Salthill promenade.

At the same time, An Bord Pleanála has deferred until October a decision on the city’s proposed new ring road which, whatever its perceived benefits, will dramatically increase CO2 emissions without meaningfully increasing participation in cycling or other transport modes.

Although these are independent decisions, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that they collectively represent something of a crossroads in terms of how Galway, and the country in general, responds to climate change.

The upcoming COP26 conference, coming as it does after the latest stark IPCC report, will no doubt trigger plenty of earnest statements and promises from most of our political leaders.

But it remains to be seen whether representatives of those same parties are prepared to make even modest changes at local level in the face of the same old temptations to proceed with the “business as usual” of continued growth in car use. – Yours, etc,