Responses to common arguments Fine Gael make promoting fossil fuel extraction

Fine Gael often argue against People Before Profit’s Climate Emergency Measures Bill. Whether it’s Jerry Buttimer writing about how we are an ‘extremist’ organisation for suggesting that fossil fuels should be left in the ground, or Alan Farrell TD suggesting that People Before Profit are only sponsoring the Bill so that we can ‘tear the system down’, Fine Gaelers love to pedal their smears coupled with arguments that make little sense in order to act on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. Here are a few of our responses to their arguments.

1. ‘We need fossil fuels for when the wind doesn’t blow or when the sun doesn’t shine’
There is an element of truth in this: Even if the country was fully reliant on wind and solar power, there would be times when the grid may need a boost due to wind farms being taken offline. There is little need to worry about the wind not blowing though: wind farms are obviously intentionally constructed in areas where winds speeds are high. Investors in wind farms would not see their investments as sound if there was a risk that wind speeds would drop.

2. ‘We need more fossil fuel exploration because we need oil and gas as a transition fuel’

Fine Gael will still be refering to the need for ‘transition fuels’ in 2100 if we let them continue to govern. The reality is that any exploration would result in a timeline of a number of years before any fossil fuel energy gets into the grid. In that same time, there is only political will stopping an equal amount of renewables coming online and feeding into the grid. Calling fossil fuels ‘transitional’ makes it seem as though they are a temporary measure. But this can’t be the case if more fossil fuels are discovered. This fuel will continue to be fed into the market for decades, while the switch to renewables is continually postponed.

3. ‘We need to allow more drilling so that we can have security of supply’

Ireland does not drill itself for natural resources or employ firms to explore on its behalf. It gives natural resources away to private companies using contracts that the US normally has to overthrow governments or invade a country to achieve. These fuels are then sold on the private market at the same prices as imported fuels. Whether Ireland buys the fuel from abroad or from a private exploration firm makes no difference to the security of supply. Private firms sell to the highest bidder. The idea that Ireland gets any sort of ‘security of supply’ by giving away natural resources that should be left in the ground is a farce.

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