Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government to use Community Wealth Building as one tool in the transition to a zero-carbon future.
Speaking ahead of travelling to Glasgow for COP26, Teachta O’Rourke said:
“Community Wealth Building offers significant advantages when it comes to climate action.
“The reality is that the current economic model in Ireland isn’t meeting the needs of workers, families or our environment.
“The government consistently points to the carbon tax but this is punitive in the context of runaway international market prices and, in truth, generates a tiny fraction of the estimated €5bn annual climate investment required.
“The Community Wealth Building model is an important alternative, which encourages local, sustainable economic development.
“Local economic development means investing in indigenous businesses, supporting local employment and sourcing goods and services from local suppliers, thereby reducing our climate footprint.
“It encourages the development of co-operatives, a model that has been successfully applied to renewable energy projects such as the Templederry windfarm, the state’s first community owned windfarm.
“Unfortunately, we have seen limited growth in this area, despite the significant benefits it can deliver for communities and our energy sector.
“Financing the transition to a decarbonised future is one of the key goals of COP26 this year. Community Wealth Building can play a significant role.
“For example, an alternative source of financing for local authorities could allow them to raise funds for local green projects, via Local Climate Bonds, which would give citizens the opportunity to contribute and invest in local climate action.
“Such an approach by two councils in England last year, which offered citizens the opportunity to invest in local climate action projects, raised £1 million and delivered a return for communities.
“Instead of putting their money in a bank deposit account, workers and families could invest in a fund, run by the county council that develops green projects, but also get a return on their investment, similar to bank interest rates.
“This can help bridge the funding deficit many councils face, with people being able to vote with their money to develop projects that will benefit their communities.
“Solar panels on schools, rewilding projects, local wind and solar farms, EV charging points and safe cycle lanes, could all be developed by councils from such initiatives, thereby accelerating our transition to a zero-carbon future.
“Community Wealth Building can deliver tangible benefits for local communities while also delivering for our environment and should be embraced by the government.”