I was disappointed to learn this week that Galway City Council is to expand its car park.
At an estimated cost of €3.5 million, I can’t help but feel this is a gross misuse of taxpayer money and a missed opportunity to lead the way in tackling our climate woes.
The climate crisis dictates the immediate need to reduce carbon emissions. The manufacturing of concrete and building of roads contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions.
It is estimated that, around the world, concrete production accounts for 8% of global emissions. Nearly every kilogram of concrete (0.8kg) is responsible for 1kg of carbon dioxide equivalent. These are emissions we cannot afford. Roads and related infrastructure account for 3.5 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent each year in Ireland alone.
A new land-use survey found that the amount of Ireland covered in concrete, paving and roads has almost doubled in less than 30 years, to 2.4%. This is an area of over 1600km2, or, an area of Ougterard, Spiddal, Loughrea, Ballinasloe, and Moylough.
Galway City Council should use this opportunity to reassess their parking requirements.
One-third of households do not own a car in Galway City. We should be seeking to ensure as few people as possible need a car in the future.
The council could welcome in the four-day-week, which has been heralded as a success everywhere it has been tried. The council should look at providing free public transport for its staff. And the council could look at leading the way in understanding a car-free future.
Criodán Ó Murchú