Week 7

22 Mar

What are Ireland’s prospects going into the future in terms of general standards of living and economic growth? From the past weeks lectures, not so prosperous! We talked about how sustainable development will certainly reduce economic growth. Given the condition of the public and state finances at this moment, it’s not looking too good at all for Ireland Inc. Despite all these negatives the Irish economy is still managing growth, even if it’s just modest growth. However, Ireland is far from reaching its targets set out in the Kyoto protocol. In fact Ireland has one of the worst records when it comes to cutting carbon emissions. It’s very likely that we will miss our carbon reduction target for the period 2013 to 2020. I’m sure if we had implemented the changes we were due to; we would be in as bad a position as we’re in now. If this is the case, we will have to fork out 500 million on carbon credits every year.

However, we can’t keep buying carbon credits forever. We’re falling behind in the sustainable energy research and development industry. We need to get serious on the matter of sustainable development and to stop putting it on the long finger. However, this issue receives little coverage because of the financial meltdown and the corruptness of the banks and some members of the last government. I don’t agree with the carbon credit scheme either. If a country like Ireland, who makes no effort at all to reduce carbon output, can just buy carbon credits are we really moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels? If harsh sanctions were in place both companies and countries would be forced to rely on green electricity more and this area would see much more investment. But, this is a long way from happening because the world leaders are reluctant in implementing the Kyoto agreement. The USA should be a world leader in this field and giving an example, but it didn’t even ratify the Kyoto protocol and has been very uncooperative up to date. Unless we can get The US to get more involved, the process of moving from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources will be a long one.

We discussed during the week that developing countries are acting as pollution havens for some large companies. These countries have caused little of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere of today and believe they should have the right to develop as the developed world did. However, with severe weather effects of global warming affecting these countries also, they will have no choice but to live more sustainable. The first world should also pay grants to the third world so they could begin to develop more sustainably.

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