Menopausal Mother Nature

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Electric cars won’t stop global warming – The Nationalist

Electric cars won’t solve all our problems

By Michael Godfrey

I READ a very interesting article recently, which completely did away with the notion that electric cars are the be-all and end-all and will solve all our carbon emission problems.

I accept that something must be done to heal the environment – only a fool would think climate change just happened on its own – and yes, all the pollution we constantly pump into the atmosphere is partly responsible. But after reading the article, which concentrated on child labour being absolutely abused to mine the cobalt necessary in the production of batteries for said electric cars, mobile phones and a plethora of other gadgets, I’m not so sure.

All you have to do is drive behind a car or lorry that’s belching out fumes and you will know that kind of stuff is not good for you or the environment. But there must be universal agreement to tackle such a problem and at the moment I don’t see that happening.

That’s why I don’t see the ambitious plan unveiled by the Green Party last week of halving emissions by the end of this decade as achievable. Before anyone goes jumping down my throat stressing the need to do something before we kill off the planet, I do agree with it, but I don’t believe all the answers are contained in the recently published Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

What a mouthful! And if that’s not enough to turn you off learning more about the issue, I don’t know what is. And if the aim of reducing emissions by half in this decade is not enough, the long-term plan is to have Ireland reach net-zero emissions – in other words, to produce no more CO2 than is removed from the atmosphere through sequestration measures such as planting trees.

It all sounds very grand, but that would require wholesale change, but the problem with ‘hardwiring’ something into law, as suggested by our taoiseach, is that we, or sections of our society, will be compelled to comply.

One area of particular concern is farming, which is currently up there with the best of them when it comes to harmful emissions. A simple solution to some of the emissions created is to reduce the size of the national herd, which currently stands at around seven-million cattle. In other words, reduce the cattle and you reduce the amount of ‘gas’ these animals expel. If you listen to the ‘experts’, there is nothing worse than a flatulent cow to destroy the environment.

But if we do that, who is to say the rest of Europe or the world will follow suit? Once upon a time, we were told there was an over-production of sugar, but that led to getting rid of that entire industry in Ireland. Yes, there was a little short-term gain, but look at what we have lost since: an entire industry and all the allied jobs that went with it have been lost forever. Now there is talk of trying to revive the industry, but it is only talk.

As night follows day, if Ireland reduces its national herd, some other part of the world will step up and fill the gap. I know people are trending away from eating beef, but not to the extent that we are being told, and I for one have no interest in eating something that was developed in a laboratory which mimics a good old-fashioned steak.

Don’t think for one minute I am a big fan of the farming sector, because I’m not. I don’t know enough about that industry to comment on whether they are doing everything right, but picking on a poor cow is not the answer to our problem.

What about transport? As I’ve said, we will find out to our cost that electric cars are not the answer to all our problems in that area. But closer to home, we could do with a better transport system which would greatly reduce the need to have so many vehicles on the road.

The sad fact of life is that we do not have a national transport system which would allow us to leave our cars at home. I agree we all need to be more mindful of the environment and do all the little things we can to help reduce emissions, but until we sort out transport and all the pollution it generates, we are at nothing, and that ambitious plan announced by the Greens will also come to nothing.