Electric car charging point - they're not hard to find in Ireland,
but you're more likely to see a unicorn than to see someone
using one of these.
Perhaps over Christmas you came across a NY Times article about Ireland and carbon tax. The article essentially claimed that the Irish people had swallowed Al Gore's Kool Aid en masse and have experienced an environmental and economic miracle thanks to our new found environmentalism.

If you did happen to see that article you were hopefully asking yourself one key question: is any of this true? The answer, in a word, is 'no.'

Ireland may well be "40 Shades of Green", but that sort of 'green' is not among them. Granted Irish people are wary of messing with their beautiful green land and that sometimes frustrates me, but they are far removed from the picture of a nation of environmental devotees that the Times' Elisabeth Rosenthal painted. In fact, most of Rosenthal's article is a complete nonsense. I'm not sure it even qualifies as journalism.

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Rosenthal interviewed one politician for the piece - former Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan. Ryan was one of six Green Party TD's (MP's) in the last Dáil (Parliament). His Green Party was the junior partner in the last government, which brought in the carbon tax. That government is also widely blamed for the bank guarantee that has bankrupted the nation, destroyed our economy and (temporarily we all hope) ended Ireland's 90 year experiment with sovereignty.

In the election that followed our economic collapse not a single Green Party TD managed to be elected. The party barely exists now, but Rosenthal tracked down Ryan to get a positive assessment of the carbon tax. If the carbon tax was the blessing Rosenthal claims how is it she couldn't find a single current government minister or even elected official to sing the carbon tax's praises? None of the remaining Fianna Fáil TD's was willing to speak in favor of the carbon tax despite representing the senior partners in the government that brought it in. Odd if the carbon tax is all Rosenthal claims it to be.

Rosenthal's economic claims were even more laughable. What little good news Ireland had in 2011 was entirely due to the Irish operations of large US technology and pharmaceutical companies. The domestic economy declined in 2011.

Rosenthal's entire article is a sham. Carbon taxes were introduced just as the economy was going into free fall. The sharp decrease in emissions is ENTIRELY due to the fall in economic activity. So many companies have gone to the wall that production has decreased sharply. Unemployment has sky-rocketed so fewer people are driving to work and emigration has taken off again so there are actually fewer people here burning oil and gas. That's the real carbon emissions story. Everything else is a green fiction.

The carbon tax is just another tax. Taxes have risen across the board. Our VAT rate (sales tax) is now 23.5%. All sorts of other new charges have been introduced, often with little or no protest because we all know the government is broke and we all know that our European masters love all these new charges. So they come in, we moan and then we pay them. That's what happened with the carbon tax.

Rosenthal ties in charging people for their garbage collection service with the carbon tax. That's a completely different issue. Ireland has limited landfill space and it's filling up fast. Garbage collection was getting too expensive for local governments so they sold off the routes and now we have to pay. I don't think this situation would be unfamiliar to many Americans.

My absolutely favorite part of Rosenthal's fairytale was the accompanying photograph of an electric car recharging its battery. The picture was taken at a car dealership. Funny that, considering there are hundreds of these electric charge points all over Dublin. You know why she didn't get a picture of someone charging their car at one of those curb-side charging points? Yup, you guessed it, NOBODY uses them because NOBODY has an electric car.

I was in California two weeks ago. In first the ten minutes I was in Pasadena I saw more electric cars charging their batteries than I have in the two years since the Irish government began rolling out the unused infrastructure for the non-existent national fleet of electric cars.

The Ireland I live in is not the one Rosenthal wrote about. The one I live in is still bankrupt, still hemorrhaging young people, still awaiting further tax hikes, still governed by people sensible enough to know that the average Irish person is still unconcerned by 'climate change.' The Ireland she described is a mythical green land experiencing an environmental-policy-led economic turn-around. You can probably find the 'Little People' running Rosenthal's Ireland.