FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
Wednesday 28 September, 2016
The impact of Ireland’s new international commitments and national legislation intended to address climate change impact has been completely ignored in the current Independent Review of Airport Charges, according to Friends of the Irish Environment.
In its submission to the Consultation on the Independent Review of Airport Charges , FIE says the National Aviation Plan ‘avoids addressing the issue of rising emissions from aviation, does not actually set out any policies to deal with emissions, and fails to acknowledge the need to cap and curb demand growth so that the target of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C can be met’.
FIE’s quotes Professor Alice Bows-Larkin, professor of climate science and policy at the University of Manchester, whose expert evidence on aviation and climate change concluded that aviation’s overall negative impact on climate is ‘around twice that of CO2 alone’. 
‘In the case of aviation the damage is not just the emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels, such as CO2. It is also the sensitivity of the high altitude at which aircraft fly, and the emissions of particles and gases including water vapour and soot. Other factors that were not addressed in evaluating the impact of aviation are the airport operating procedures such as the ‘stacking’ or queueing of aircraft ready to land and the fact that while extra-large loads leads to greater efficiencies it also means the aircraft needs to carry more fuel, and thus more drag.’
A spokesman for the organisation said that ‘the exceptional risks and inequitable burdens posed by growing aviation emissions in Ireland have increased this year alone by 12% above 2015.  This represents a significant drain on Ireland’s putative climate efforts and is entirely contrary to both the Paris Agreement and our own recent Climate legislation.’
The spokesman said that international NGOs have also criticised proposals currently being considered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal to allow airlines to purchase offsets against their emission and to delay any commitment to carbon neutral growth until after 2020.
‘NGOs support the recent study by the European Commission which says that aviation emissions cannot ‘grow in an unlimited and unregulated way’ , arguing that aviation must do its share of real mitigation now. ‘
‘This will require policies to properly price carbon in aviation fuel as well as measures to contain demand growth for air travel’, the spokesman concluded.
Contact: Tony Lowes for spokesman details
353 (0) 27 74771 / 353 (0)87 2176316
 Bows-Larkin, A. 2016. Expert evidence on aviation and climate change. http://www.carbonbrief.org/heathrow-13-prof-alice-bows-larkins-expert-evidence-on-aviation-and-climate-change
 Cames, M., Graichen, J., Siemons, A., and Cook, V. 2015. Emission reduction targets for international aviation and shipping. Study commissioned by the European Parliament’s committee on environment, public health and food safety. Available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/569964/IPOL_STU(2015)569964_EN.pdf
An environmental lobby group has welcomed the cancellation of a charity balloon release which they say is “lethal” to the environment.
Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have welcomed the cancellation by the Cork Autism Society which was due to have its annual balloon release next weekend.
The environmental group said balloons released into the environment will burst and the fragments can become “lethal marine debris”, a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.
Marian Courtney, the Sales & Marketing Manager, has written to FIE saying that the balloons, which are tied to participant’s wrist during the walk, “will not be released this year but will instead be taken home by the participants”.
FIE Director Tony Lowes said they were “delighted” by the society’s response.
The environmental group has protested balloon launches before.
The balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency was re-arranged at the last minute after FIE’s protest to include a ‘Secure Balloon Release’, and not a ‘general balloon release’.
Lowes stressed that their organisation meant no disrespect for the Cork charity or “the many hard working volunteers who are planning this event. Nor are we seeking to have balloons banned, but rather to join other jurisdictions in having balloons included in the legal definition of litter and making outdoor releases illegal”.
5 September, 2016
FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
CALL FOR CANCELLATION OF CHARITY BALLOON RELEASE
The environmental lobby group Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] are calling on the Cork Association for Autism to amend their planned balloon release this Sunday and ‘keep it on a string’. The Association’s annual ‘Blue Balloon and Fun Walk’ is scheduled for Sunday 11th at 11 am at Blackrock, Cork.
FIE said the practice of releasing balloons was ‘an act of littering’ that only continued because people were unaware of the consequences. ‘If the public knew how hazardous balloons are to the environment they would never allow it’, FIE Director Tony Lowes said.
‘It has been well established since a Canadian marine conference in 1989 that the release of gas filled balloons is an environmental hazard. The fragments can become lethal 'marine debris', a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.’
‘All of these species have been reported with balloons in their stomachs. All seven species of marine turtles are near extinction and many turtles of two species in particular, the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtle, have been found with balloons in their intestines. The string on balloons can also entangle and trap animals. Not only can entanglement cause death, but added to other plastic fragments, animals can feel full and actually starve to death from not eating. Latex balloons, whilst biodegradable, may still persist in the marine environment for up to four years’, he added.
The group has protested balloon launches before. The balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency was re-arranged at the last minute after FIE’s protest to include a ‘Secure Balloon Release’, and not a ‘general balloon release.’
‘All of the balloons for the ceremony’, Tony Lowes explained, ‘had extra-long string attached. The balloons were then released from chest height and let go to the maximum of the string length for the launch itself. After the EU ceremony, children were able to take the balloons home with them as a memento of the day.’
FIE first tried to prevent President Mary McAleese partaking in a memorial balloon release in 2005. At the time Environment Minister Dick Roche refused to prohibit mass balloon releases. In 2009 the prestigious Dublin’s Mount Anville school cancelled a planned balloon release after FIE issued a public call. In July 2012 Birdwatch Ireland and three other wildlife and marine groups issued a call to Ban Balloon Releases.
FIE wrote to President Higgins after his election to the Presidency, asking him to ensure that he did not attend ceremonies which included the release of balloons. His office informed them that he ‘cannot intervene in or make representations about matters which come within the remit of the Government.’
Mr. Lowes stressed that their organisation meant no disrespect for the Charity or the many hard working volunteers who were planning this event. ‘Nor are we seeking to have balloons banned, but rather to join cities in the United States and many English counties in having balloons included in the legal definition of litter and making outdoor releases illegal’.
‘What is key is to ensure that people know of the damage they could unwittingly be causing. Local Authorities could adopt voluntary bans on their own lands as could the Parks and Wildlife Service. This would greatly help to raise awareness – and that’s the key to any change in our behaviour. We don’t believe anyone wants to intentionally cause the needless suffering and death of wildlife or marine animals.’
Comment and verification:
Tony Lowes 027 74771 / 087 217 6316
See video of last year’s Balloon Release
UK Marine Conservation Society Pollution Policy and Position Statement, 2014
Birdwatch Ireland (and others) July 2012 call for Ban