Going electric - Laudable goal but unrealistic

The Green Party’s call on the Government to “rise to the challenge being posed by the UK, France, Germany, and Holland, and target the complete phase out of combustion engines as soon as possible” is laudable but unrealistic.

It follows the announcement by the British government of a complete ban on the sale of all petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars from 2040, when all vehicles must be fully electric.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan wants the Irish Government to try to beat the UK’s target but he and his party are not comparing like with like.

We still import more than 80% of all our energy needs while the UK, France, and Holland are all major fossil fuel producers and all use nuclear power, along with Germany, which plans to phase it out. Even 96% of our natural gas is imported. On the face of it, following the UK lead would assist us in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels but only if the electricity used is itself generated from clean energy.

The nuclear power option should still be considered. In France, 70% of energy comes from nuclear power, a source the Greens regard as toxic. Like it or not, toxic or not, nuclear power is not a fossil fuel.

A more achievable target would be to electrify all mainline rail which currently runs on diesel and implement fully the Government’s target, as set out in the National Mitigation Plan, that all new sales of vehicles will be electric after 2030.


Lifestyle

Last week, I wrote about 'small is beautiful' as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, in the mind's eye, the village where I live in west Cork and from which my wife and I are temporarily exiled.Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

More From The Irish Examiner