Cold comfort for poor people as the Greens keep chasing windmills

ENVIRONMENT Minster John Gormley stood beside Taoiseach Brian Cowen during the four-year austerity plan press conference last Wednesday and proudly announced the doubling of Ireland’s carbon taxes (as part of the Green party contribution to that plan).

This is utter lunacy — to have a go-it-alone system of such unfair taxes while other countries have no such comparable impositions. As the three stood at the podium, Ireland was being swept by a bone-chilling airflow coming from Siberia. Met Éireann was predicting that the air temperatures would be well below normal for this time of year, well into next week.

At the same time the electrical power being supplied by the myriad of wind generators around Ireland was only around 50mw out of a system demand of more than 3,500mw (less than 1.5% of the nation’s electricity demand).

I believe there are more than 1,500mw of installed wind generation, so 50mw is a very poor return. And what the Greens don’t tell us is that the wind generators must be “covered” by thermal generators when the wind is not blowing (which is a duplication of Ireland’s installed wind-generated electrical power supply).

On his Green party website, Minister Gormley wrote that “the Carbon Revenue Levy Bill, enacted in June 2010, will recover from power generators a substantial portion of the unearned carbon windfall gains they currently receive”.

This means the price of electricity must rise and rise over the next four years as the power generators (ESB, BGE, etc) will ultimately pass on the Green party’s carbon revenue levy to unfortunate customers in the form of higher gas and/or electricity bills.

Meanwhile, Irish people near the poverty line, who will have further reductions in weekly income directly caused by the Government’s austerity plan — moneys currently deemed insufficient for their food and other needs — will freeze in their inadequately heated homes. The numbers of consumers who will be cut off for non-payment of utility bills will rise exponentially.

It is easy for the Greens to work in a comfortable and well heated Dáil Eireann. These TDs should try and work outside in a harsh, cold Irish winter, like some of us who pay our taxes in order to provide the Green party representatives with fat salaries, bloated expenses and lucrative pensions when they retire (or before).

Last week, Teagasc stated that the carbon levy introduced in the 2009 budget had cost Irish farmers €24 million. That cost will also be passed on to consumers. If the price of tractor fuel gets too high, it will make no economic sense to grow crops like potatoes and barley in Irish soil. It will be cheaper to import these foods. The result will then be ‘carbon leakage’, as the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted will be greatly increased overall, which is the opposite of what Ireland’s dire Green party set out to achieve.

Tom Baldwin



Co Cork

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