C: Gript

Government spends millions on climate indulgences

This week it was reported that the Irish government plans to buy €2.9 million worth of so-called “carbon credits” from Slovakia, courtesy of the Irish taxpayer – which might not be the bargain they think it is.

As reported by the Journal.ie:

“The government is due to buy up almost €3 million worth of carbon credits from Slovakia ahead of an EU deadline for emission target compliance.

Environment Minister, Eamon Ryan, received Cabinet approval today to buy the credits to help comply with 2020 emission targets, with the deadline for compliance being 17 February.

Under the Effort Sharing Decision, EU member states are required to limit greenhouse gas emissions but there is flexibility on how these targets are met.

In particular, the regulations allow for EU states to sell or buy carbon credits from other countries.”

Now what is a “carbon credit” exactly, you might ask? What will we be receiving here for our money?

Well, in effect, a carbon credit is something you buy that gives you permission to emit CO2, because in theory you’ve offset it by an equal amount somewhere else.

So, for example, hypothetically, let’s say you wanted to work on a construction project, and it was going to put 1 tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere, which you weren’t allowed to do because of EU or government regulations. What’s the solution?

Well, what you’d do is, you’d buy a certain amount of carbon credits, and the money you spent on those would (in theory) be used to do do something “green,” like build wind turbines somewhere else – say, in France. Those wind turbines, in turn (pardon the pun) would then reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by 1 tonne – the same amount as you’re putting in with your project.

Therefore, even though you put 1 tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere, you cancelled it out somewhere else, so there’s no harm done. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.

The reality, though, is probably quite different.

Even taking the climate narrative at face value, the effectiveness of all this is quite dubious. After all, according to Teagasc, to buy and install a single 800kW wind turbine, you’re looking at spending a minimum of around €2 million.

Therefore, a €2.9 million “carbon credit” investment could buy Slovakia or someone else a whopping one and a half wind turbines. Hardly enough to revolutionise the global energy industry, is it?

Alternatively, you could plant a few trees or something – there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Often the money goes towards protecting part of a forest in some third world country, stuff like that.

But ultimately, this is not the kind of gesture that’s going to save the planet either, even by the logic of climate activists. The practical effect is negligible.

For a sense of scale here, the Amazon basin in South America covers around 8.2 million square kilometres, of which around 80% is covered in forest. If it was in Europe, forest would cover basically the entire mainland continent and then some.

So in light of this, does anyone seriously believe that a small donation of €2 or €3 million quid will seriously impact this region’s amount of forest cover? Would a few hundred trees make any difference whatsoever to the overall health of the planet?

There are an estimated 390 billion individual trees in this forest – what’s a few quid going to do to reduce or increase that in any meaningful way? What are we actually doing here, other than patting ourselves on the back?

Of course, climate activists will say, as they always do, that “it makes a difference, because every little bit adds up.” They usually say the same thing when you bring up Ireland’s negligible CO² emissions, and how, according to the EU’s own figures, we contribute a measly 0.09% of the world total – less than one tenth of once percent.

“These small gestures will help,” Green-types usually say. “Maybe not on their own, but cumulatively.”

But of course, that’s not true. Because in order for that to be even theoretically true, everyone in the world would have to be on the same page about this stuff, and they’re not.

For example, China is the biggest polluter in the world by far, giving off more CO2 emissions than the rest of the developed world combined. They produce the same amount of CO2 in 2 days as Ireland does in a whole year.

And not only are they not rolling back on fossil fuel industry, they’re accelerating it. They’re building factories faster than the rest of the world can close them. The total amount of coal plants are actually increasing globally, even despite Europeans and Americans closing ours frantically, because China is opening so many.

So the idea that saving, say, 1,000, or even 10,000 trees out of 390 billion in the Amazon is going to make any actual difference is seriously deluded and wishful thinking at best.

It is, in fact, flushing millions of euros of taxpayers money down the toilet for optics. What we’re actually getting back here is fresh air, and paying millions for the privilege. And what that means is that this is not really a “carbon credit” – it is what Catholics used to call an “indulgence.” It’s paying to have our sins expunged, and free ourselves from a guilty conscience.

It’s not a new or original point to say that many of the more radical factions within the Green movement have all the attributes of a religious belief system. This notion has been brought up by many commentators in the past, and I’m hardly the first one to point it out.

For example, Green adherents follow their own special rituals. They have annual holy days, like “Earth Day,” where they turn off all the electricity in their house for a few hours to “save the planet.”

Now, does this meaningfully help the earth in any way, realistically? Well, probably not – but they’ll do it anyway, because it’s more of a tradition or symbolic gesture than a practical solution to anyone’s problems.

It’s effectively a votive offering, sort of like carbon tax. After all, it’s hard to see how a granny in Cork paying the Green Party an extra €20 for her heating will prevent wildfires in Australia. Nobody actually believes that will work. But they push aggressively for it anyway, because this kind of eco-tithe will help alleviate some of the crippling guilt of our cursed species.

In the same vein, environmentalist radicals have their own dietary requirements. Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays. Muslims and Jews abstain from pork. Hindus abstain from beef. And what do hardcore Greens abstain from?

Well, they’re generally vegan. And even the ones who aren’t vegan, usually try to eat “organic” or locally-sourced foods. And not only do they engage in this as a choice, but the more zealous devotees will even sometimes condemn others for not adhering to the same diet.

For an example of this, view a series of interviews below, in which a number of Extinction Rebellion types in Dublin told me that meat products should be banned outright by law.

They have their own eschatology and doomsday theology (namely, a climate apocalypse brought on by mankind’s sins). They have their own system of internalised shame and self-flagellation (“We’re killing the planet”), and will often lash out aggressively at heretics who dare to question any component of their belief system. Just try questioning the wisdom of any climate policy in front of one of these people, and watch them hit the roof as they accuse you of “denial” (i.e. apostasy).

As much as I’d like to humour the greens, I don’t particularly feel like living under eco-Sharia law where petrol cars are banned, and 50% of the so-called “national herd” have been sacrificed in what effectively amounts to a mass bloodletting ritual. Can we stop pretending this stuff is based on evidence, and just admit that it’s an article of faith?

It is effectively a religion for atheist hippies who think they’re too smart for religion. That is Ireland’s new unofficial state-sponsored faith. Which is fine, if that’s what you personally believe – but it’s a far cry from science, and should not be treated as such.

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