The Government’s upcoming ban on the sale of commercial turf is needed if we are serious about stopping climate change, an environmental activist has said.
The exact details are expected to be announced in the coming days and Duncan Stewart says the ban is long overdue:
“Turf is the worst of all fossil fuels in terms of carbon emissions and we really are not addressing climate change in Ireland,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“We’re not mitigating our emissions, our emissions are going up and not going down.
“And we need to first of all start there. We’ve a major problem in our society, our main political parties, our opposition parties, they’re just not getting it, how serious climate change is going to be.
“Anyone under 50 years of age, they’re going to be very seriously affected by climate change. It is the single biggest issue facing all of us and when we look at turf, turf is the most carbon intensive of all fuels.
“And when we burn it - and typically in open fires - we’re exacerbating the emissions relative to the amount of heat or benefit that we’re getting for the turf, all of that goes back into the atmosphere.”
It is expected that the legislation will allow individuals to cut and burn turf - a derogation that Mr Grant says is harmless:
“And I would agree, small cutting where it’s at a level of say somebody out with a slane cutting turf and using it for ther own home, that’s not the issue at all,” he continued.
“That’s tiny compared to once machines come onto the land.
“When the big cutting machines are out there on the bogs, exploiting the turf, that’s where the damage is being done and there should be something in our regulations that prevents machines being used on our bogs because that’s a problem.”
However, the ban has run into opposition from a number of TDs and interest groups; last week Jackie Flannery of the Irish Rural Association told Newstalk that the ban would cause a huge amount of hardship for people in the country:
“Turf will fizzle out in time,” she predicted.
“But what we are saying, from the Irish Rural Association’s point of view, is you cannot cut something straight away without having something in its place that is affordable for the people of rural Ireland.
“It’s as simple as that.”
Main image: A well lit turf fire with logs in a basket and turf drying on the hearth. Picture by: Alamy.com