How Green are our MLAs?

Genuinely interesting slot from the Politics Show which asked three MLAs to do a video diary for a week on their Green activities, which was subsequently viewed and critiqued by Newton Emerson and Lise Fegan of Friends of the Earth. The verdict? Three committed individuals, but given the cuts in the warm homes scheme by DUP Ministers, and (from Newt’s point of view at least) Sinn Fein’s hostility to the generation of nuclear energy in Ireland, there is little sense that any party in the Assembly has brought forward serious proposals that attempt to tackle climate change in the kings of systematic ways that would make a difference.

  • Mick,

    What precisely could the political class here do to “make the difference” to climate change? Can you explain how they could make this dramatic impact and back it up with science?

    Giving the massive increase in C02 emissions in the Republic over recent years (During the Kyoto period)how would any decrease in NI make any substantive and quantifiable difference?

    As you know (though I Imagine the Politics Show remains happily oblivious) we don’t all buy into global warming hysteria. FOE has a remarkable insight into the issue with a void of scientific at the heart of the matter.

    It seems to me that the ONLY contribution our Assembly of fools can make is to reduce the hot air by speaking less. Beyond that, it’s an inconvenient truth to accept that climate change has always been with us and always will.

  • perci

    I object to the way the DUP MLA was emptying a small blue bin, which had a red handle, and white paper being recycled, into a green bin.

    This is a blatant example of trashing Irish Republicanism, by the overt symbolism of the Red,white and Blue triumphant over the Green!

    Bye the way Newton looks like a wasp, and is that another calculated sting in favour of Nuclear Power?

  • Shore Road Resident

    Newton is a wasp – a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
    They are descended from the Bee Specials.

  • aquifer

    ‘What precisely could the political class here do to “make the difference” to climate change? Can you explain how they could make this dramatic impact and back it up with science?’

    Our politicos could insist that new homes were connected to gas mains and public transport. Gas has about two thirds of the emissions of oil, and transport is our fastest growing source of emissions.

    Until climate change denyers start offering cheap flood insurance, I’m with friends of the earth and the Bangladeshis on this one.

  • So, more State control will save the planet, eh? In truth, you reveal plenty about the FOE agenda, totalitarianism through the back door, higher taxatation in the name of greenism, and an 17th century economy.

  • DK

    “Sinn Fein’s hostility to the generation of nuclear energy in Ireland”

    Everyone should be against nuclear energy production on Ireland. Firstly, we have a big coastline & lots of wind that can provide wind/wave energy. Secondly, only one modern nuclear power station would be able to provide all the energy for Ireland North and South – which would be putting all our eggs in one basket should it ever fail/be hit by terrorists.

  • Peter Brown

    “only one modern nuclear power station would be able to provide all the energy for Ireland North and South – which would be putting all our eggs in one basket should it ever fail/be hit by terrorists.”

    But wouldn’t that at least be real power sharing?

    I think I’ll go and stand in the corner and think about what I have done even before I’m sent there!

  • Nestor Makhno

    “only one modern nuclear power station would be able to provide all the energy for Ireland North and South.”

    Wow, that’s an interesting fact (if true)!

    Why not go nuclear in Ireland? What’s the cost of a new reactor anyway? £1.5 billion or so? (My ever-rising annual Phoenix Gas bill will probably be approaching that figure within the decade.) We can ship the waste to Sellafield (it’s not like another few tonnes is going to make any difference to those on the Irish east coast).

    We just need a stop-gap solution until European scientists finally get their act together; make a fusion torus reactor work properly; and save the planet with a truly satisfying combination of high technology and state funding.

    Who needs the greens?

  • willowfield

    It’s not only climate change that we have to worry about, of equal concern is the fact that fossil fuels are running out.

    So that’s two reasons to develop alternative means of generating power.

    What can Government do in NI?

    – Invest (or encouragement investment) in R&D;into alternative fuels.
    – Build a nuclear power plant that can generate power which can be used here and sold elsewhere.

  • aquifer


    ‘So, more State control will save the planet, eh?’

    If the planet needed saved, who else should do it?


    Please don’t preach that the free market will provide, though cheap drugs and guns could give us a 17th century economy soon enough.

  • Aquifer,

    Can you direct me to my nearest government controlled food store? Like so many statists, you haven’t a clue about the benefits of capitalism, maybe you hanker for the days when the USSR ran the food stores, all those yummy potatoes and cabbage,,mmmm

  • aquifer

    ‘you haven’t a clue about the benefits of capitalism’

    Great efficiency in resource allocation, reward for innovation, ability to find efficient ways to abate environmental damage by price mechanisms, economic penalties for nepotism and religious descrimination.

    I think capitalism can be fine, most of the time.

    A few bits of bacon, some butter and a pinch of nutmeg, and spuds and cabbage ain’t so bad either.

    How do you feel about gun and drug control, Dave?

    What kind of statist do you imagine me to be?

    Orange, Green, or Free?

  • I haven’t visited this forum for some considerable time. Prompted perhaps by an unexpected break in a busy schedule, I decided to revisit an old haunt and was very pleasantly surprised to see that a real issue was being raised here – an issue of ‘real’ as opposed to ‘tribal’ politics – in contrast to my experience of years past when many who wrote to this forum were preoccupied with issues of a more colloquial nature.

    Sadly one of the first submissions (@ David Vance) to this thread betrayed an ‘I’ll bury my head in the sand, thank you’ attitude and my early delight almost turned to despair.

    I cannot understand why some people have a problem accepting the fact that humans, through the burning of fossil fuels, are actually changing the natural pattern of global change. In my experience, a good number of these same people will devote hours to try to convince me and others of the existence of ‘their’ God.

  • Crataegus

    Light bulbs, recycling, etc are a small part in the overall; it is almost tokenism

    To truely reduce our impact we need to fundamentally re organise our society and the future layout and densities of our towns and cities and our obsession with zoning. It will take decades and there is very little sign of any co ordinated approach or real understanding of the magnitude of the problem.

    We still plan with cars as our main form of transport, we reduce local services, we allow out of town shopping centers, etc

    With regards buildings I would like to see much greater emphasis on production of energy on site and less on insulation. There is a limit to what can be done with insulation and currently some parts of our Building regulations are ill considered. (Also the differential between inside and outside temperature here is not that great and the pay back time can be considerable! To allow for local production of energy we need a Planning regime that supports this change.

    On the Building Regulations the current regulations and the VAT applied to renovations usually makes demolition an economic option. I cannot imagine that that is what was intended. I do feel that the whole question of insulation especially in older property may need to be reexamined and the idea of sealing a building is one that worries me. I like open windows and I think residential property should ‘breath’.

    Dodds decision was utter folly and should be reversed. Renewable energy supply is the growth sector for the future. Nuclear is not needed in Ireland there are plenty of options for production of energy what is lacking is a will to utilise them. Energy production is much much more important than conservation given from where we are starting.

  • Hagrid,

    Two points.

    Since when did blindly accepting global alarmism become “burying your head in the sand”?

    You wonder why it is that some people have a problem accepting that burning fossil fuels causes global cimate change. I suggest you become more familiar with the science behind the issue and then your comments might make at least some sense. For example, have a little think about why there has been NO global warming since 1997. That’s according to the Climate Research Unit as East Anglia University, btw. Did you evaluate that research before making your comments?

    Also, any idea why CO2 increases precede temperature increase, not the other way around?

    I have challenged the likes of FOE and the Greens to a public debate on the SCIENCE of the issue but all one hears is the sound of silence.

    It is said that the problem with those who stop believing in God is that they start believing in anything. You appear to fall into this camp.

    Now, where are the keys to my SUV?

  • willowfield

    Also, any idea why CO2 increases precede temperature increase, not the other way around?

    Maybe because it takes time for the effects to take place?

    Anyway, DV, never mind global warming, don’t you realise that fossil fuels are running out? As a good capitalist presumably you’re familiar with the law of supply and demand? The supply is falling while demand is rising inexorably. Do you know what that means? It means the price goes up. Eventually fossil fuels will become too expensive and the economy, which is dependent on them, will go into serious recession.

    So – even global warming is a con (as you claim!) – we still need to find alternative energy sources. Until we do, your SUV use and other unnecessary fuel usage further depletes a precious resource and further increases its price.

  • dromorevoter

    The first election posters to appear in Dromore are from the Green party – good for them. With the amount of poisonous gas around the town at the moment they can perhaps bring a bit of much needed fresh air to the area.

    No Black party posters yet! It is hardly likely to have anything Green in its manifesto anyhow – too dependent on the Orange party.

  • Willowfield,

    Please do not put words in my mouth. I state clearly that MAN-MADE global warming is a scam, a way for the political class to thieve even more money from us, exert more control over us, and all in the name of saving the planet! The planet’s climate has always been changing but only now – for some odd reason – do we need to put a tax on it and hope gullible liberals swallow it all as..gospel?


    The question is whether the Green Party candidate will get as many votes as the number of posters hanging from virtually every lamp-post. What I want to know is have these posters been recycled since her last attempt. after all, there’s a lot of global warming about … apparently.

  • willowfield


    Sorry, but that doesn’t answer my point.

    It doesn’t matter whether MAN-MADE global warming is a scam or not … because FOSSIL FUELS ARE RUNNING OUT. Demand is rising and supply is falling. The price is rising and will become unaffordable for many of our daily uses.

    Therefore … we still need to find alternative energy sources.

    And, until we do, your SUV use and other unnecessary fuel usage further depletes a precious resource and further increases its price.

    How do you respond?

  • Willowfield,

    Three points really to be made.

    i. It sure as hell DOES matter if AGW is a scam.
    2. Fossil Fuels run out? Really? Read this..

    “The United Nations “Atoms for Peace” conferences in 1955 and 1957, which set the stage for the expansion of the nuclear industry, were unambiguous about the need for nuclear power. The view was that fossil fuels would last for about 75 years and that, by the end of the 20th century, we would be faced with major energy crises unless we had nuclear power. The costs of fossil fuels would rise exponentially, while those of nuclear power would fall.

    However, the opposite has happened. Fossil fuels have proven to be abundant and less expensive than nuclear power. Estimates of fossil-fuel reserves are enormous, especially of gas. “Commercially proven” reserves – those that companies have access to and declare in their assets – are a poor guide to actual reserves, which include unexplored resources and unconventional resources such as tar sands, shale oils and gas hydrates.

    Estimates suggest that, at current extraction rates, we have over 200 years’ supply of oil, 450 for natural gas and over 1500 for coal, the weighted average being nearly 700 years (see Rogner in further reading). Even this is an understatement, since it excludes natural-gas hydrates in the permafrost and under the ocean floors, and other sources that together are thought to amount to five times these values. ”

    200 years oil – my SUV will need replaced by then.

  • willowfield

    That’s only the supply side you’re dealing with (amd presumably from a biased source). Demand continues to increase inexorably. Do you know the law of supply and demand?

    Also, unexplored resources tend to be in places which are more difficult to reach and therefore more expensive to extract.

    It’s not so much the end of oil that we should worry about: it’s the end of cheap oil.

  • crataegus

    Could I just mention security of supply. It would be joy to look to a future independent of possible conditions imposed by countries such as Russia or the Arab states.

    It is also worth considering the potential for local employment maintaining and installing the various types of turbine etc and the ability of people with relatively small amounts to invest in this sector. If you own a bit of land in the Sperrins with a stream I would have thought it would be very cost effective to consider the possibilities.

    What we need to do is encourage this sector and encourage investment. I do thing Dodd’s decision was ill considered.