Climate Emergency Measures Bill
Sir, – Philip Kearney of An Taisce is completely wrong in his criticism (February 12th) of the Taoiseach’s attempt to prevent the Climate Emergency Measures Bill, and the Government is completely right to ignore it, as it is counterproductive for several reasons.
First, greenhouse gases are produced by hydrocarbons when they are consumed, not when they are produced. If Ireland does not produce the hydrocarbons, they are imported from other countries which have to produce more in order to meet this demand. The net effect on the atmosphere is precisely the same except that Ireland forgoes the economic benefit of producing its own fuel.
Second, of the four types of hydrocarbon used to produce energy – coal, peat, oil and gas – the latter, oil and gas, combust more efficiently than coal or peat, and so produce less greenhouse gas per unit of energy. If we can displace coal and peat with oil and gas, the atmosphere benefits. An Taisce should be advocating this.
Third, the only scalable renewable energy source in Ireland, which is wind energy, is both variable and unreliable and therefore requires adequate standby generation capacity idling away in order to cut in when the wind drops. The only practical technology to meet this requirement is the gas turbine. So, paradoxically, reliable supplies of natural gas are an enabler for wind energy production.
Trying to ban exploration for oil and gas in a country which barely manages to drill one exploration well per year, all of which have been plugged and abandoned in recent years, is a waste of Government time as well as being counter-productive. It makes as much sense as petitioning the Nigerian government to ban polar bear hunts. – Yours, etc,