There was a time, and not so long ago, that car ownership in Ireland was not universal. There was a time, within living memory, when the central heating consisted of a small stove in the middle of the house.
Back in the good old days, much less CO2 was sent off into the atmosphere. The time is fast approaching when those good old days will return.
The European Union is determined to cut CO2 emissions, and they're starting with the richer countries first. Thanks to the Celtic Tiger, Ireland has moved up to the head of the line.
Somehow or other, by 2020, Ireland will have to generate 14% more renewable energy than at present. At the same time, carbon emissions will have to drop by 20% as compared to levels generated three years ago. Is the technology there? That's not the EU Commission's problem, now, is it?
The final bill for Ireland should work out to around EU1 billion. Per year. What's in your wallet? It won't be there much longer.
Sure it sounds dreadful, but the numbers have been crunched and the EU Commission has warned that those who use electricity and gas will end up paying even more if nothing is done. Due to climate change, they claim, but they've hedged their bets and put down some of the increases to basic economics. Good old supply and demand, wouldn't you know, and isn't it just like the Chinese and Indians to go and use up our oil? And they're not signing on to the Kyoto Accord, so what do they care?
Everyone in Ireland must change their lifestyle. Stop driving and go back to the bicycle. Pull out the furnace and go back to the cozy peat fire. Light up the paraffin oil lamps and decrease electricity usage.
What about all the businesses that use lots of energy? The government will adjust things accordingly. Wouldn't want them pulling up stakes and going over to China and India to make their steel and cement and such. in countries that won't limit energy consumption.
There's talk of building up in Dublin, constructing skyscrapers to curtail urban sprawl. People will take the stairs, of course, because running an elevator would be cost-prohibitive.