SIR – Your editorial of May 2nd 2020, ‘Our serious effect on the planet,’ is a wake-up call for all. The Centre of Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) states: ‘The measures to combat the coronavirus have led to an approximately 40% reduction in average level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution and 10% reduction in average level of particulate matter pollution over the past 30 days, resulting in 11,000 avoided deaths from air pollution.
This effect comes as power generation from coal has fallen 37% and oil consumption by an estimated one-third. Coal and oil burning are the main sources of NO2 pollution and key sources of particulate matter pollution across Europe.”
The constant objections to Clean Energy Alternatives in Ireland and extraordinary delays through a ponderous planning and legal process leads to many deaths in this country each year and chronic illness for others. The Shannon Scheme could not have been built if our current laws applied, yet that was a model of carbon free electricity.
Everybody wants electricity as long as the generating source is not in our back yard. We don’t want windfarms or PV farms (totally passive) even if the alternative is gas/oil-fired generation or nuclear (which we use now). Luckily they are always in somebody else’s backyard .
The report on a six-year long planning saga in Terelton is so typical of our ineptitude and incompetence in national planning. We are drowning in contrived Environmental Impact Reports that places human life at the bottom of the scale with every blade of grass and toad beings more important that humans.
The absurdity of the situation is that the very people who oppose low-carbon generating methods claim they are the ones protecting the planet. The real taxation cost of carbon-based energy needs to be clearly defined, which will increase annually for everyone.
A national debate should be a high priority leading to a referendum on the change to low carbon electricity. It is over to our elected politicians to lead that debate.