Peat power and climate change


Madam, - Last Friday was Earth Day, the annual occasion when millions worldwide celebrate the environment.

How did Ireland mark it? With the news that the first of two peat-fired power stations was coming online, flying in the face of our international commitments to tackle climate change.

The power stations will burn 1,500 hectares of peat a year for 15 years. This is a climate change double whammy. Burning peat releases more climate-polluting CO2 than any other fossil fuel, whereas undisturbed peatland would actually absorb damaging carbon emissions from other sources. The final irony is that if we let climate change take hold, many of our bogs, a unique environmental asset, will dry up and die.

Yet these power stations are being developed by two State companies, with public subsidy from every consumer who pays an ESB bill. Such public investment could be used to make Ireland a world leader in renewable energy. Peat power stations are carbon dinosaurs which have no place in a 21st-century energy policy. - Yours, etc,

OISÍN COGHLAN, Director, Friends of the Earth, South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2.