Government’s climate action plan


Sir, – Mary McDonagh (Letters, June 20th) worries that the Government’s climate action plan will render her already unwelcome 180 km commute down the N59 to Galway City unaffordable. She is right to be concerned. Sometime between now and 2030 car commutes of this distance must become unaffordable.

There are two solutions to her problem. In the first scenario, Ms McDonagh cycles to Clifden and catches the conveniently timed electric commuter bus to Oughterard, where she either continues her cycle down the traffic-free Connemara Greenway to Galway, or transfers to the rapid Galway City Light Rail Network. In the second scenario, she and her partner move into the newly built and imaginatively designed public rental housing infilling brownfield sites in Galway City in quantities large enough that many two-income households can be affordably accommodated without social stigma.

A botched and ineffective low-carbon transition which relies too heavily on carbon taxes and unforthcoming private investment will make Ms McDonagh’s life harder. An effective transition with bold public investment will make her life substantially better while helping to save the planet. I wish I could say I confidently look forward to possibly meeting her after boarding at the Moycullen GLUAS stop or perhaps at a Galway Environmental Network meet-up within walking distance of her new lodgings. – Yours, etc,



(Emeritus Professor

of Economics,

NUI Galway),


Co Galway .

Sir, – Can we not simply acknowledge that we are not a species that “merits” survival? That we and all of “creation” which have emerged on this planet are simply part of an ongoing evolution of life and phenomena in myriad forms, that we are not important in the grand picture, and that we, and our planet, are on a “journey”. We are not that special. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – I totally agree with Paul Doran and Arnold Horner (Letters, June 20th) that planting broad-leaved trees and preserving our hedgerows are vital in the fight against climate change. The UK environment secretary Michael Gove has already stated his commitment to plant 130,000 trees across England over the next two years. The UK government’s climate advisers have recommended that three billion trees and 200,000 miles of hedgerows must be planted by 2050 to end Britain’s contribution to global warming. In contrast, there is no mention of similar objectives in Richard Bruton’s climate action plan. Iarnród Éireann is actively destroying ancient hedgerows along hundreds of kilometres of railway lines and local authorities are cutting down mature trees.

Why must our Government always opt for the “big news story”, focusing on the complicated and expensive climate change policies while ignoring the fundamental and absolutely achievable actions which will benefit the natural environment for all humans and wildlife who inhabit this island? And this lack of emphasis on the natural environment comes weeks after the headlines on loss of biodiversity and the huge risks to food security due to the collapsing numbers of bees and other pollinating insects. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.