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St Patrick’s Day: Ireland’s sustainability credentials at a glance



Today is St Patrick’s Day, the annual holiday that celebrates the life of Ireland’s patron saint – and kicks off 24 hours of Guinness-fuelled merriment around the world.

At Blue & Green Tomorrow, we’re celebrating by wearing shamrocks and rounding up all of our Irish-themed stories and features.


Renewable energy provided more than 7% of Ireland’s energy needs in 2012, as the country worked towards meeting its target of generating 33% from renewables by 2020.

One recent report found that the use of renewable energy helped Ireland to save €1 billion (£820m) in fossil fuel imports, as well as 12m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, over the past five years.

Even unexpected investors such as the Swedish furniture giant Ikea are chipping in, with the recent purchase of a 7.65 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Carrickeeny.


Ireland was one of the many parts of the UK to be hit by sustained storms and flooding over the Christmas period and the early weeks of 2014.

Though scientists have stressed that it is currently not possible to attribute individual weather events to climate change, there is growing evidence that global warming will increase the chances of such flooding hitting the UK again.

The Met Office said, “Daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense, and that the rate of increase is consistent with what is expected from the fundamental physics of a warming world”. 


Following Ireland’s experiences of extreme weather, former Irish president Mary Robinson led calls for investors to ditch their shares in the fossil fuel companies that are some of the biggest contributors to climate change.

Robinson argued that the extreme flooding recently experienced in the UK would be nothing compared to the “weather shocks” that future generations will face if the impacts of climate change get worse.

In response, she called for a “new investment model that responds to the risks posed by climate change”.

She added, “By avoiding investment in high-carbon assets that become obsolete, and by prioritising sustainable alternatives, we build capacity and resilience, particularly for more vulnerable people – while lowering carbon emissions.” 


In October, former US president Bill Clinton argued that Ireland could also become a global leader in philanthropy.

Speaking to an audience in Dublin at an event hosted by Philanthropy Ireland, Clinton insisted that philanthropy was needed in Ireland to fill the gaps that the government, in a time of austerity, would struggle to fill itself.

“This is a good and noble thing to do”, he said.

It is in the Irish tradition and you can do something that I would really appreciate.”

Further reading:

Wind power saves Ireland €1bn in fossil fuel imports over five years

UK and Ireland set for large-scale wind power collaboration

Ireland expects cleantech job and GDP surge

The Wind in the Wicklow: Ireland’s quest for energy independence

Bill Clinton: Ireland can lead on philanthropy


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