Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Ireland is green, but her people are not
Ireland's winters and summers will get warmer thanks to climate change, according to a report published last week by a team of experts. The prospect of milder winters and summers is hardly the stuff of climatic nightmares. An Irish summer generally means temperatures in the 60s and winter, although not icy cold, is typically damp and raw, with temperatures around 40oF.
For the most part the issue of global warming, climate change (what have you) worries Europeans far more than Americans. At least that's my impression. However, the average Irish man or woman is hardly quaking in their boots and reports like last week's are unlikely to scare anyone into changing their ways.
"You have the Green Party in government," you might say. That's true. The Green Party has two seats at the ministerial table. Those ministers and others in the party make a lot of noise, but the party makes up less than 4% of the Irish parliament. And, even that share of the vote can be attributed in large part due the Greens' image as innocently incorruptible rather than as a sign of any great support for the party's views on saving the planet or whatever.
All the other parties utter appropriately green statements on occasion, but it's always obvious that the environment doesn't excite them. EU environmental regulations are strict and, well, membership has a price.
All of which explains how the same people who voted for a government that banned the sale of incandescent light-bulbs also took to SUV's during the boom years like ducks to water. It's a case of appeasing the EU on the one hand and letting the market decide on the other.
I expect this situation to continue well into the future. I mean, after all, why would the people of Ireland want to prevent their climate going from north Atlantic to Mediterranean? All we have to do is carry on as we have been and wait for 2080 to bring the good weather.