Dan Boyle: A Change Of Climate


From top: In 2010, from left: then Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for the Environment John Gormley; From left: Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Transport,The Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan launching the draft text of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020 last night in Government Buildings, Dublin

It has taken thirteen years but now, at last, we have a Climate Bill that is time and value specific as to how as country we should be reducing our carbon emissions.

It identifies sectors of the economy whose performance needs to change. Most important of all its provisions are judicible.

In 2010 then Green Party Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, introduced such a bill. It had a second stage debate in The Seanad before the bill fell with the government.

John Gormley’s successor as Minister, the antipathetic Phil Hogan, set about dismantling that bill of anything that would resemble achieving an effect. Goals were turned pieties, targets into aspirations.

A new bill, a limp toothless piece of legislation, was introduced by Alan Kelly in 2015, into an Oireachtas that by then had no elected Green Party representatives.

The context of where Ireland lies with carbon emissions has to be understood. We are the third worst performing country in the European Union, on a per capita basis. We are only being worse performed by Estonia and Luxembourg, two countries whose populations when added together is less than that of County Dublin.

Since 2011 Irish carbon emissions have been increasing on a year on year basis. That is up until 2018 when a 0.1% decrease was recorded.

There has no been no serious attempt to tackle Irish carbon emissions over the past decade. It has taken a Green return to government to again make this issue a political priority.

Its introduction now in the time of a pandemic, with many social and economic inequalities persisting, will be presented by some as a wrong sense of political priority.

It isn’t. Taking seriously then acting with intent on the climate emergency is the political imperative of our times. Pursuing the issue does not and cannot mean inaction on any other political priority.

Indeed an innovative approach to the climate emergency could be a better means to tackle ongoing social and economic inequalities. I know it is a matter of contention, even within the Green Party, but climate justice has to mean social justice.

Finally getting our act together on this could see the Irish economy become better positioned in becoming a go to place to reflect new best practice in a decarbonised world.

Social Justice will come about through a better allocation of scarce and finite environmental resources between developing and overdeveloped countries.

The same should occur within societies as those most affluent tend to be those who are most wasteful of environmental resources. In that sense a carbon levy is a progressive tax, as those who consume more pay more.

After years of running into walls I’m suddenly becoming possessed with a strange sense of optimism. I’m thinking this is something we can do. The necessary resources will be provided for it, and that those resources can be used productively.

For now that optimism is overcoming the green devil sitting on my other shoulder. He keeps telling me that others don’t want to know, that they can’t change what they are or their need to benefit from a depleting planet.

He may be right but damn him anyway. Nothing can change unless we try.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator and serves as a Green Party councillor on Cork City Council. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Julien Behal Photography / RollingNews

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43 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: A Change Of Climate

  1. Joe

    I wish Dan well with his sense of optimism. The Greenwash partys contribution to carbon reduction is to penalise people with vicious thug carbon taxes on the poorest and on ordinary taxpayers (100’s of millions of Euro of joke carbon taxes robbed from consumers have totally failed to stop a year on year increase in carbon emissions) in Ireland rather than taxing the producers. The Greenwash partys failed policies and being abject liars, want to inflict more taxes on consumers knowing full well that the only way climate justice can be achieved is for the producers to be taxed rather than consumers. Truly the Greenwash party are FG on bikes.
    I am filled with a strong sense of optimism to see them continue to plummet in the polls since the general election. :)

    1. SB

      But wasn’t it a previous NON-GREEN government that signed us up to €100-a-tonne carbon taxes that we have to reach by 2030? Rightly so, too. Why does everyone blame the Greens? How do you discourage consumption except with taxes? Tax the producers and it’s passed on to the consumer, so has the same effect.

      1. Niallo

        I see, so… if i have this right, the carbon gets sequestered in bank notes.. we stuff those into the government’s non-ring fenced coffers to be squandered , sounds perfect, make the beleaguered motorist, who doesnt live within cycling distance of even the nearest regional train or bus station, foot the bill for this brainfoof of a policy.
        Oh and remind us again, how does this electricity for the ev’s get generated ? Where does it come from again ? Wind turbines… sure.
        So that north-south interconnect is there so we can sell wind power to the uk, and we all believe that.
        the uk, who’s national grid is owned by edf, how do edf generate the majority of their power ? I’ll give you all a hint, it glows in the dark and has a half life of 50 thousand years…
        Make no mistake, those datacenters dont run on clockwork, we are a net importer of electricity and will be for the forseeable.
        Meanwhile, china, india and the us throw a few billion more tyres on the fire.
        I’m all for a greener environment and imcreased fuel efficiency can only be a good thing, but this lunacy needs to be given the IW treatment, and fast.

          1. Niallo

            Obviously, how so ? Because i see things as they are and not through the lens of how i would like them to be ?

  2. scottser

    what, save the planet just so the chinese can take over it?
    sod that.
    *throws another tyre onto the bonfire*

  3. Cian

    The elephant in the room is agriculture. It is ⅓ of Irish emissions.
    It produces 20,000+ kt CO₂ and is increasing year-on-year

    Transport peaked in 2007 at ~15,000kt.. and is now around 12,000 (very slowing rising).
    Energy Industries was high ~17,000 in 2001 but has been steadily dropping year-on-year and is now ~10,000.
    Everything else is relatively small and more static.


    1. Janet, dreams of big guns

      and just how much of the lungs of the world ( rain forest ) is left to process it, oh that’s right less and less

    2. E'Matty

      Yes, carbon is the very basis for all organic life. Life, as we know it, is carbon based. Without carbon dioxide in our air, there would be no photosynthesis to bring us trees, plants, and carbohydrates we need to live, plants could not grow and all animal life would consequently die. Without CO2, trees would not produce oxygen. What is most bizare is that people seem oblivious to the fact that this anti carbon agenda is being driven by the very same “elite” interests behind Big Oil for the past century. You’ll find the same names popping up in respect of the Covid response, the Great Reset and Agenda 2030.

      The actual pollution, destruction and degradation of our environment by these same interests is being concealed behind the Green flag and its absolute focus on carbon as the culprit for our environmental ills.

        1. E'Matty

          Oh right Nige, perhaps you could detail what particular point made is inaccurate or false? Is it that you don’t believe carbon is the basis for all organic life? Or do you think photosynthesis is a “conspiracy theory”? I’m always happy to support my points with facts and evidence. What is it you doubt? I’m happy to back it tup, if you wish? Or is this just a reflex conditioned reaction from you to anyone daring to deviate from the “We’re all dooomed and the earth is gonna die in the next 12 years” narrative?

          1. Nigel

            ‘What is most bizare is that people seem oblivious to the fact that this anti carbon agenda is being driven by the very same “elite” interests behind Big Oil for the past century’

            This is the stupidest thing I’ve seen on this site, and I’ve argued with Zuppy International.

          2. E'Matty

            @ Nige – ah, thanks Nige. I deliberately omitted that point in my reply to invite you to ask about it :-) . I’ll now post some information on the people behind the development of the global climate change movement. If you can identify any point that I make as factually incorrect, I will donate €20 to a charity of your choice.

            Let’s start with Mr Maurice Strong – Maurice Strong was arguably the single most significant public figure in the creation of the global climate change movement. Strong commissioned the Report ‘Only One Earth: The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet’ and then established the Stockholm Conference, the first time numerous countries were brought together to discuss the global environment. He then established the UNEP and was its first executive director. Strong was one of the Commissioners of the World Commission on Environment and Development. He was appointed Secretary General of the UN Conference on Environment and Development known as the Earth Summit in Rio. Strong drafted the Terms of Reference for the IPCC, whose studies are being relied upon to support the claims of human carbon emissions driven global climate change. He was a Co Founder of the 1001 Club, a group of elite bankers and corporatists (major polluters), which is the piggy bank of the World Wildlife Fund.

            Strong, an associate of David Rockefellar (Rockefellars of Standard Oil fame) since his early twenties, was involved in Dome Petroleum, Ajax Petroleum, Norcen Resources, AZL Resources, Ontario Hydro, and of course he headed up Petro-Canada at the request of Pierre Trudeau, father of Justin.

            Strong, a self described “socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology”, came to see that the key to his vision was “environmentalism”, the one cause the UN could harness to make itself a truly powerful world government.

            “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the
            industrialized civilizations collapse?
            Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?”
            – Maurice Strong

          3. E'Matty

            @ Nige – Moving beyond Strong we see the Dutch Royals and Prince Bernard in particular. Prince Bernard was a member of Deutsche Studentenschaft, a National Socialist student fraternity, as well as the Nazi NSDAP and its paramilitary wing, the Sturmabteilung until 1934. A founder of the Bilderberg Meeting, he was also co founder and President of the World Wildlife Fund, working with Julian Huxley (brother of Aldous of Brave New World fame). The Dutch Royal Family are major shareholders in global giant Royal Dutch Shell to this day.

            Next up, the British Royals, historicially major shareholders in BP, formerly British Petroleum. Prince Philip helped establish the 1001 Club with Prince Bernard and was President of the World Wildlife Fund from ’81 to ’96. “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation,” once said Prince Philip.

            Prince Charles is very active in ‘environmentalism’ too and his Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group brings together some of the world’s greatest polluters to tell us how badly we’ve treated the environment.

          4. E'Matty

            @ Nige – The role in nurturing and supporting the global climate change movement played by the Rockefellars of Standard Oil fame is of particular note. Established and owned by John D Rockefeller, widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history, and once the world’s largest oil company, Standard Oil was broken up into a number of companies including global giants Exxon, Chevron, Mobil, Amoco etc..

            Godfrey A. Rockefellar helped Prince Bernard establish the World Wildlife Fund.
            Beginning in the 1980s, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund became leading advocates of the global warming agenda. … In their Sustainable Development Program Review, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund boasts of being one of the first major global warming activists, citing its strong advocacy for both the 1988 formation of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the 1992 establishment of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Rockefellar Family Fund has also focused it’s Environment programme almost exclusively on climate change.

            David Rockefellar sat on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and later served as its Chairman. He also founded the Trilateral Commission. The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 at David Rockefellar’s estate in Bellagio, Italy.

            The United Nations Headquarters in New York sits on land donated by the Rockefellar family.

            “Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” ~ David Rockefeller, Memoirs, page 405

          5. Nigel

            Wow I walked right into that one. Just as a matter of interest since we’re playing guilt by association and ‘you can’t fix capitalism because you’re implicated in it’, do you have a corresponding list of mega-rich bollixes on the climate change denial or delay side? An accounting of the amount of money spent by the fossil fuel industries to deny climate change would be useful as well.

            While you’re doing that, let’s just ponder your inelcuctable and intractable logic of asserting that an industry is trying to maintain the world’s dependence on their highly destructive resource extraction by funding and promoting a movement whose main aim is to curtail the world’s dependence on their highly destructive resource extraction.

        2. E'Matty

          @ Nige – “While you’re doing that, let’s just ponder your inelcuctable and intractable logic of asserting that an industry is trying to maintain the world’s dependence on their highly destructive resource extraction by funding and promoting a movement whose main aim is to curtail the world’s dependence on their highly destructive resource extraction.” Well, the Big Oil families don’t care about oil per se, they have divested signifcantly in recent years (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rockefeller-family-is-exiting-the-oil-business/ – MARCH 24, 2016). Their interest is in power and wealth and the move away from carbon will result in the creation of a centralised global power system under their control. Global problems need global solutions, eh? You’ll also find the very same interests heavily invested in the Green New Deal. The world is about to spend trillions transitioning to a “Sustainable future”. Guess who will be hoovering up that wealth and are overseeing the construction of the global governance infrastructure we’ll be living under? Just remember, we’re now handing them the keys to supranational global power with the political and legal framework to impose radical change on any aspect of life on earth. Nothing is off limits “to save the world”.

          At a news conference 2/10/2015 in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, stated the following “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” She added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

          Bank of England’s Carney was also a key actor in efforts to make the City of London into the financial center of global Green Finance. The outgoing UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, in July 2019 released a White Paper, “Green Finance Strategy: Transforming Finance for a Greener Future.” The paper states, “One of the most influential initiatives to emerge is the Financial Stability Board’s private sector Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), supported by Mark Carney and chaired by Michael Bloomberg. This has been endorsed by institutions representing $118 trillion of assets globally.”

          Bonnie Prince Charles, future UK Monarch, along with the Bank of England and City of London finance have promoted “green financial instruments,” led by Green Bonds, to redirect pension plans and mutual funds towards green projects.

          Are you starting to see the picture here at all?

          1. Nigel

            Ah, so your statement about Big Oil funding climate change activism to distract from other Big Oil depredations is incorrect. I’m delighted that big finance is divesting itself of fossil fuels and investing in Greener more sustainable energy sources and practices, since these are vital to our survival on the planet, and it’s a relief that some of the mega-rich recognise that. It’s a pity we’re at the mercy of their benevolence, but nobody’s overthrown them yet.

          2. E'Matty

            @ Nige “Ah, so your statement about Big Oil funding climate change activism to distract from other Big Oil depredations is incorrect” eh, where did that get from? I never said anything of the sort. You’ve completely made that one up.

            “It’s a pity we’re at the mercy of their benevolence, but nobody’s overthrown them yet.” Quite the opposite in fact. People like you are literally handing them absolute control of the globe based on an exaggerated threat (bit of a habit of you guys to be fair). The greatest prize of power ever.

          3. Nigel

            I most certainly did not make this up:
            ‘What is most bizare is that people seem oblivious to the fact that this anti carbon agenda is being driven by the very same “elite” interests behind Big Oil for the past century’

            ‘The greatest prize of power ever.’

            Ah, what a fantastic cop-out that is. I note that you didn’t compile the list of mega rich and powerful pushing against adressing climate change. I also can’t imagine anything that would decentralise power more than moving away from fossil fuel dependancy to more sustainable forms of energy, away from industrialised monoculture to mosre sustanable and localised forms of agriculture, towards heavier regulations and oversight of industrial pollution and emissions, away from car dependency and towards public transport networks and bycycle infratructure. In other words, you’re talking bollox.

            I knew this anti-masker thing was a dress rehearsal for anti-climate change action from the anti-anti-right. Pathetic and corrosive.

  4. gringo

    You cannot beat the Irish when it comes to self flagellation. We produce more carbon than the industrial powerhouses of Europe? Someone is telling porkies again Dan.

        1. E'Matty

          you also couldn’t live without it. In fact, when they analyse other planets for life, guess what they look for? Funny you should pick arguably the other most significant constituent of all known living organisms to try make your point. It would though not be out of character for a climate fanatic to make a claim as outlandish as water is going to drown us all if we don’t change every aspect of our world immediately. They have form in this….

          Let me guess, you learn about the world from a 16 year kid with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism? Go you, a real intellectual heavyweight.

  5. LuvinLunch

    Climate action will be very positive for health. The four key behaviours required for health are:

    1. Physical activity – by greening our transport and giving people #ChoiceInTransport we can improve our overweight and obesity rates currently at >60%. Walking, cycling and public transport also have benefits for social cohesion, children’s play, community etc. We’ll always have cars but all our public space shouldn’t be allocated to them.

    2. Fruit and vegetables – by reducing the amount of meat on our plates we can decrease the carbon footprint of our food and improve obesity and disease rates. The only nutrient Irish people are short on is fibre.

    3. Tobacco – an absolutely destructive behaviour on all levels except corporate profit. We should get tobacco and smoking off our planet asap

    4. Alcohol – By reducing the amount of alcohol we drink we can reduce associated harms to people and environment. An easy first step would be to ban alcohol advertising.

    All of these changes would be positive. Climate action can make things better for people.

    1. Clampers Outside

      You lost me with the “>60%” are obese….
      Eh, no.
      It’s estimated at 23% in Ireland according to the HSE.

    2. Niallo

      1. Nice if you live in dublin.
      2. Couldnt agree more, far too much cheap meat on the market.
      3. Good luck with that, people will destroy themselves, its in our nature.
      4. That sounds like great fun, i bet your gas craic at parties.

      1. LuvinLunch

        1. Totally agree.
        2. –
        3. –
        4. Cos alcohol advertising is so much craic at parties. ;-) . not saying get rid of alcohol. Just the advertising.

  6. V AKA Frilly Keane

    More of the same really Dan

    Targets Targets Targets

    Not one of them – again btw
    Are legally binding

    These bills are the It could be you dream in Politics

    Stop dicking around clocking up Ministerial – TD terms FFS
    Come up with something that actually has teeth
    Not taxes

    That’s not Governing lads
    Nor is it leadership
    Nor is it giving a sh one tea about the Environment

    1. SB

      Any specifics, apart from carbon tax, which all governments apply?

      The Cycle to Work scheme has been a great success in encouraging people out of their cars and onto bikes, probably saving the HSE untold millions in the future

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