Fintan O’Toole: ‘Bomb the economy’ is the only climate strategy that’s worked in Ireland

How can Scotland meet climate targets while Ireland fails? One word: leadership

First minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon attends the opening of The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre located in Aberdeen Bay on September 7th, 2018 off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

First minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon attends the opening of The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre located in Aberdeen Bay on September 7th, 2018 off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Imagine a person who can only lose weight, not by going on a diet, but by accidentally running out of food. It is a grim fact that Ireland’s only really effective way of responding to climate change has been to go into recession. We succeed by failing.

Since 2005 the most significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions were caused by the implosion of the economy between 2008 to 2012. This “success” will be repeated in 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis, whose main benign effect is a likely reduction in Irish carbon emissions of around 12 per cent this year.

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