Is it time for Eamon Ryan’s Green Party to ease its opposition to the Kerry gas plant, which would expand Ireland’s scarce energy options?
All in all, this dreaded Ukraine war has quickly overturned many old certainties. And now Germany’s Green Party – traditionally influential over its Irish peers – is rethinking nuclear power and liquid gas, the latter of which have been at the heart of a major planning debate. at Ballylongford on the Shannon Estuary.
We have seen the EU break the 65-year taboo and agree to supply Ukraine with weapons. We have seen Switzerland abandon its sometimes lucrative “neutrality” in favor of joining economic sanctions against Russia.
We have seen two of the four non-aligned EU member states of Ireland, Sweden and Finland, weigh heavily in providing arms to Ukraine. And a poll in Finland, for state television last week, also showed a majority for the first time in favor of joining the Western military alliance, Nato, in a dramatic change. tell.
We have also seen the German government take a 180-degree policy turn in arming Ukraine, significantly increase sanctions against Russia, and agree to a sea change in spending. defense policy. The German Green Party, which grew out of the pacifist movement of the 1960s and flourished through anti-nuclear campaigns, is an important part of a tripartite coalition that has implemented far-reaching changes. this.
“As our world changes, so does our politics,” said German co-leader Green and German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock.
Irish Green Party activists have long enjoyed close links with their German counterparts. Critics say the Berlin government is planning to build two new terminals to receive liquid gas by sea and reduce Germany’s dependence on Russian gas imports, which some experts say makes up 55% of the country’s energy supply.
All indications are that Germany will delay decommissioning the last three nuclear power plants – Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2 – scheduled to be decommissioned later this year. That complete nuclear shutdown was a central part of a policy adopted by former chancellor Angela Merkel a decade ago that seemed out of place in the light of the Ukraine crisis.
Another German Green co-leader, Robert Habeck, deputy chancellor and minister responsible for climate action, was outspoken when asked on television about prolonging nuclear power. “The question is a related question, I will not ideologically dismiss it,” he said.
The Green Party in Ireland has been fairly consistent in its environmental stances and has done two positive things since joining Ireland’s tripartite coalition at the end of June 2020. The first is that it has promoted action to address climate change and secondly that it has remained solid in opinion polls despite being a party of government.
And now, the Irish Green Party insists that it does not feel any new pressure after 12 days of catastrophic war in Ukraine. It argues that Germany is more dependent on Russian gas than Ireland, which supplies almost no gas from there, with a quarter coming from the Corrib field and the rest from Britain.
A Green Party spokesman said Ireland had much better wind potential than Germany. “We are, in fact, a stranded rock in the north Atlantic, so we are one of the windiest places on earth. A conservative estimate suggests there is 30GW of offshore wind off our Atlantic coast, enough to power about 27 million homes,” the official said.
The Greens also point to a long step in nearly a decade to build the LNG plant at Ballylongford, which is still in the planning stages.
It is argued that wind energy continuity problems can be overcome through the increasing use of giant batteries. Excess wind energy can also be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and store the hydrogen, which can then be used to generate electricity or transport heavy loads.
It is noteworthy that the Minister of Business and the soon-to-be Taoiseach Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, has also voiced similar arguments at Dáil in the past 10 days. That gives the Greens some solace.
But pressure will continue on the matter from the likes of Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly, who are on the case.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/greens-under-pressure-from-change-driven-by-war-41421227.html Green under pressure from war-driven change