Ireland To Be Among First Countries To Phase Out Oil and Gas Exploration

Ireland’s decision to end fossil fuel exploration, which was announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the UN climate summit, means the Republic is among the first countries in the world to get out of oil and gas production.

The move is on foot of scientific advice about its climate impact. But the search for, and extraction of, gas will be permitted for some time as the country shifts to a carbon-free economy.

Varadkar said the government agreed with advice from the Climate Change Advisory Council that exploration for oil should end “as it is incompatible with a low-carbon future,” he told the summit.

Some 60 global leaders, including Varadkar, outlined hundreds of climate actions with a view to honoring previous commitments made under the Paris Agreement and to scaling climate ambition, as requested by UN Secretary General António Guterres.

The implications of Varadkar’s exploration announcement was confirmed last night by a spokeswoman for the Taoiseach. Existing licences and options for oil and gas will remain valid, but Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton will bring a memo to government within a month to set out how the change will be implemented.

“This will relate to future applications,” she said.

“Licence applications will still be accepted for [the] Celtic and Irish Sea on an ongoing basis,” she added.

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