You know, as a regular punter on the outside looking in, it can sometimes seem like the Irish government are as extreme on the issue of climate change as one could possibly be.
This is, after all, the same government who spent years running around the country shutting down “pristine” power stations, without any immediate practical plan to replace the lost energy supply.
— gript (@griptmedia) June 23, 2021
Those emissions had to be cut, and if that meant putting our entire national grid on a knife-edge, facing rollout blackouts for years to come, then so be it – damn the consequences.
Ireland could face electricity shortages over next five winters, Eirgrid report warns https://t.co/6JwdFEvYdY
— TheJournal.ie (@thejournal_ie) September 29, 2021
From deliberately spiking carbon taxes to “force motorists out of their cars,” to telling us cheap flights will be a thing of the past, these lads are pulling out all the stops to fight emissions – even if it makes their own voters miserable.
So, with this in mind, you’d assume that the Irish government have maxed out the capacity for climate alarmism, right? It can’t get madder than this – surely this is the final boss?
Well, as Qui-Gon Jinn said, “There’s always a bigger fish.”
As reported in the Irish Times this week: “Rationing fossil fuels among hard choices Government needs to make, committee told.”
“The Government needs to make immediate hard choices such as rationing fossil fuels, stopping forest and peat harvesting, cutting the national herd and restricting car traffic into cities if it wants to meet its own targets on emissions reductions, climate change experts have told an Oireachtas committee.
The academics also argued that the carbon budgets recommended by the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) do not go far enough to achieve the 7 per cent annual reductions contained in the Programme for Government…”
Responding to this proposal, Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton – who is far from a climate skeptic – said that this was an “impossible ask”, astutely pointing out that:
“We don’t have unfettered capacity to implement changes such as the rationing as described. You would have to be conscious of the reaction of the Maillot Jaune (Yellow Vest protesters in France) to much more modest proposals (on fuel prices).”
As in, the Yellow Vest protest in France was sparked by far less than what these academics are asking for.
Now, it’s true that these proposals are daft. Culling farmers’ cattle, rationing fuel out to people, stopping peat harvesting again and forestry – I mean, it’s just bonkers stuff. Cuckoo bananas. But at the end of the day, the academics aren’t really to blame.
After all, they’re only proposing ways to achieve the absurd targets that the government and the EU have set.
The government have committed themselves (and they should be committed for this) to 7% carbon reductions per annum for the next ten years.
As we’ve discussed before on Gript, in 2020, when we had a full Covid level 5 lockdown for most of the year, and leaving your house in most cases was a criminal offence, we reduced our emissions by – drum roll – 3.6% according to the EPA.
Carbon emissions down last year by just 3.6% despite Covid-19 restraints https://t.co/TyNf3rnkRP
— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) October 22, 2021
We shut down almost every business, factory and car in the country, confined everyone to their homes and grounded flights. And all that accomplished was reducing our emissions by 3.6%.
And now the government want to double that by getting emissions down by 7%.
Logically, this means it will require twice as much disruption to ordinary people’s lives.
Others in the government coalition go even further – Eamon Ryan has previously been quoted as saying he wants 10% per year.
"We need radical [carbon] reductions. We need 10% per annum. If I had my way, if there was a one world dictatorship, where we could make that level of ambition and deliver it, then I'd be very happy."
– Eamon Ryan, Wednesday, November 5, 2014, Friends of Europe pic.twitter.com/2c7GZI2hEs
— Ben Scallan 🇮🇪 (@Ben_Scallan) June 4, 2021
And the Opposition, whose job it is to – you know, oppose things – complained that the government wasn’t going far enough with the Climate Action Bill, saying their plans weren’t “ambitious” enough.
Opposition parties say Government’s Climate Action Bill does not go far enough to tackle climate change https://t.co/pWDno7pOEW
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) March 23, 2021
The point being, the train has no brakes. We have a government which has its climate panic meter cranked up to 11, and the people charged with opposing their worst excesses are urging even more hysteria.
There was one very telling quote from the Tánaiste which sums this whole situation up if you ask me.
Last year, Leo Varadkar said that:
“Before the pandemic I used to say it would take everyone staying at home for a year to meet our emissions targets… we did that, some of us have been staying at home for two years, and we haven’t made them. That tells us bigger systems change is needed.”
Leo Varadkar: Before the pandemic I used to say it would take everyone staying at home for a year to meet our emissions targets… we did that, some of us have been staying at home for two years, and we haven't made them. That tells us bigger systems change is needed
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) November 4, 2021
In other words, even with a miraculous, deus ex machina opportunity for climate reductions – namely the lockdown – the government was not able to do what it needed to do regarding emissions.
What is the solution in Leo’s view? Why, to double down even further, of course.
So don’t blame these academics for coming up with looney toons ideas for getting carbon emissions down. Maybe if our political leaders weren’t setting raving-mad, unachievable targets, the proposed solutions wouldn’t sound so daft.
Let’s face it lads – Ireland’s economy will never achieve the emissions goals laid out by the government. But if our politicians have their way, it will certainly die trying.