Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Why I don’t worry about climate change.

Posted by Jason O on Aug 9, 2012 in Irish Politics |

I accept that climate change is man-made. Not because I have perused the scientific data, because I’m far too dumb to understand it. No, the reason I believe in it is because the people who oppose it are, for the most part, opposed to nearly everything I believe in and support things I am appalled by. As a result, I give the benefit of the doubt to those I agree with, and most of them believe climate change to be real. Yet, and here’s the funny bit: I don’t really think we should do anything about it.

What’s that, you say? Let me clarify. If the planet can agree a proper plan to reduce our carbon emmissions, then by all means, let’s do it. What I am opposed to is empty symbolism like building the odd wind farm. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are very good reasons for a country having a plan to move to genuinely sustainable sources of power, and in particular reducing our need to import oil and gas from people who are nuts (the Middle East) or evil (The Kremlin). I’m all for that. But the idea that western countries should put themselves at an economic disadvantage with huge polluters like China and India for a moral feel-good factor is just plain crackers. It will do almost nothing to save the planet but will cause us economic hardship whilst turning ordinary people against the concept of environmentalism.

So, what should we do? We should continue to improve energy efficiency, because there is a strategic economic benefit to it. Using taxes on carbon fuels to drive research into more economic transport is also a good means of using the free market to drive progress, and pollution reduction is a immediate benefit to our society anyway. But subsidising green energy because it is not economically viable otherwise? That has to be seriously reconsidered.  

And one other thing: Am I the only person who gets irritated when private jet flying celebrities lecture the rest of us on flying?

1 Comment

Tara
Aug 30, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Why do you assume investment in climate change solutions will necessarily lead to an economic disadvantage?

As for subsidising green energy, no energy generation technology has made it to the mass market without government subsidies. And some of those that have been receiving subsidies for decades still can’t get by without them.


 

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