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 The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?

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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:12 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Edo wrote:


If everybody is to be convinced to tighten their belts - then that better be everybody - too much "do as I say - not as I do" coming from the employers organisations at the moment.

When I heard Danny McCoy and David Begg on the radio about that, I kept thinking of John Maynard Keynes. He argued that economy-wide pay cuts and freezes just weren't the right thing to do since they depress aggregate demand and simply worsen economically-straitened conditions.

Who will be able to afford McCoy's colleagues' goods and services if people are taking pay cuts?

Perhaps we need to go back to the old mechanism of reducing taxes to increase after-tax income but leaving salary levels unchanged. This means that labour costs do not rise for business, workers get more money and the Government gets more tax revenue since the reduced taxes stimulate activity.
Eamon Gilmore has criticised the cutbacks too, lumping Fine Gael into a corner with Fianna Fáil.

Quote :
"There is no strategy in the announcement to deal with the real problem in our economy, which is the deteriorating jobs crisis.

"There is nothing in the package that will create a single job in the private sector -- while it will lead to substantial job losses in public services," he said.

Mr Gilmore said over-reacting to a recession, through tax increases or expenditure cuts, could actually make matters worse, by taking money out of the economy at a critical time.
In the Sunday Business Post yesterday there was an article detailing the cuts called 'The Knife of Brian' which will save a few millions here and there (ok, half a billion next year) some of that cutting back concerns reduction in Further and Higher Education spending - an area I started working in just under two years ago and hope to see a bit of a future in it otherwise it's off ta China to teach English. I've been teaching computers to classes of adults many of whom go off and buy a computer though they are not obliged to. I've also been introducing them to the internet and advertising the wonders of broadband. They really enjoy it and find that their perennial fear of technology has been reduced by attending my wonderful classes. Besides their spending contributing to the economy, a good few of my students are people who didn't take the opportunity to get an education in the past. I've been trying to encourage many of them to take on some extra tasks so as to try to attain Further Education Awards (Fetac) and though they are willing to do so I am regularly told by the bosses that extra classes depend on funding. Creating new markets often depends on education and though it may take time to build up a new market it is dangerous to treat lightly now for the sake of a bottom line somewhere. 'Idiotic' might be a better word than dangerous as computers aren't going to go away anytime soon and the qualitative growth I would like to see appearing will be in this type of industry where knowledge, information and communication are involved.

Though efficiency in public services is always welcome I think Gilmore has a very valid point.

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/fg-buying-into-ff--policy-on-cutbacks-1432465.html
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:06 pm

I've said it before and now it's half official - there might soon be alternative energy/energy conservation market stimulation. In this case it's retrofitting older homes with kit which will reduce energy loss/demand. Tom Parlon reckons there's 9 billion euros worth of work out there to be done by unemployed paddies and poles if folk would only avail of possible low cost loans at 1 or 2% less than your average loan. Didn't I reproduce an Ecogeek report about Connecticut recently which showed the homes of locals getting an upgrade with solar panels and then they'd pay it back over time to the local government.

This is from the front of the Sunday Business Post today only what's a triple-star loan scratch

Quote :
Banks in talks to provide low-cost loans for energy saving
24 August 2008 By Nicola Cooke
The heads of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) will meet with representatives of the main banks next week in a bid to encourage Irish lenders to provide low-interest retro-f it loans for homeowners and businesses.

CIF director Tom Parlon and SEI chairman Brendan Halligan are to meet Irish Bankers’ Federation chief executive Pat Farrell to discuss the provision of such loans for energy-saving improvements to homes and offices - such as insulating attics, replacing boilers, dry-lining walls and fitting double-glazed windows.

Parlon said he would ask that such loans have interest rates 1 to 2 per cent lower than those on current home improvement loans, and that their credit rate be triple-star.

Parlon believes there is €9 billion worth of retro-fitting to be carried out on current Irish housing stock, and that this market could provide work for tens of thousands of jobless construction works and boost lagging retail homeware sales.

‘‘A €20,000 loan would cover a major retro-fit, or a €10,000 loan would cover the basics,” he said.

‘‘We have already raised this possibility with some of the banks, and we believe they should look favourably on such loans as they are an investment that save on energy bills, are good for the environment, and generate jobs. The CIF is also considering the registration of allied contractors who have the skills to carry out a complete retro-fit, so homeowners won’t need to hire several tradesmen,” he said.
SBP 24th August
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:12 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
I've said it before and now it's half official - there might soon be alternative energy/energy conservation market stimulation. In this case it's retrofitting older homes with kit which will reduce energy loss/demand. Tom Parlon reckons there's 9 billion euros worth of work out there to be done by unemployed paddies and poles if folk would only avail of possible low cost loans at 1 or 2% less than your average loan. Didn't I reproduce an Ecogeek report about Connecticut recently which showed the homes of locals getting an upgrade with solar panels and then they'd pay it back over time to the local government.

This is from the front of the Sunday Business Post today only what's a triple-star loan scratch

Quote :
Banks in talks to provide low-cost loans for energy saving
24 August 2008 By Nicola Cooke
The heads of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) will meet with representatives of the main banks next week in a bid to encourage Irish lenders to provide low-interest retro-f it loans for homeowners and businesses.

CIF director Tom Parlon and SEI chairman Brendan Halligan are to meet Irish Bankers’ Federation chief executive Pat Farrell to discuss the provision of such loans for energy-saving improvements to homes and offices - such as insulating attics, replacing boilers, dry-lining walls and fitting double-glazed windows.

Parlon said he would ask that such loans have interest rates 1 to 2 per cent lower than those on current home improvement loans, and that their credit rate be triple-star.

Parlon believes there is €9 billion worth of retro-fitting to be carried out on current Irish housing stock, and that this market could provide work for tens of thousands of jobless construction works and boost lagging retail homeware sales.

‘‘A €20,000 loan would cover a major retro-fit, or a €10,000 loan would cover the basics,” he said.

‘‘We have already raised this possibility with some of the banks, and we believe they should look favourably on such loans as they are an investment that save on energy bills, are good for the environment, and generate jobs. The CIF is also considering the registration of allied contractors who have the skills to carry out a complete retro-fit, so homeowners won’t need to hire several tradesmen,” he said.
SBP 24th August

That would be a great solution to the phenomenon of many Irish builders, tradesmen and other such professionals being out of work. It would also have a profound impact on our greenhouse emissions and energy consumption which would go some way towards balancing our current account. It is approaching a silver bullet for the economy.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:24 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
That would be a great solution to the phenomenon of many Irish builders, tradesmen and other such professionals being out of work. It would also have a profound impact on our greenhouse emissions and energy consumption which would go some way towards balancing our current account. It is approaching a silver bullet for the economy.
Even if there was never such thing as climate change, wouldn't it be half wise to base a money system on excess co2 emissions and pollution, and generally waste and inefficiency? It's sort of the opposite to the Gold Standard - money supply can expand as long as it's sustainable-based money. It's a sort of ceiling for money expansion, but it doesn't mean money can't expand sideways. By sideways I mean alternative.

But this does look like a good solution - nearly a magic bullet as you say. Is 1 or 2% less still a bit too high? It would be around 5.5% like a mortgage I presume. Education loans are 6.6% from the Credit Union, an institution which Squire was lauding this morning. I think these low-rate loans could become a feature of money - as I say, they are a new type of money based on sustainability and natural rhythms and needs.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:16 pm

There's certainly call in Ireland to have tax incentives for investment in renewable energy technology.

The whole area though reminds me a bit of the dot.com bubble. There is tremendous instability in the investment environment for renewables. Germany pulled some grants for solar (I think) a few weeks ago and a pile of projects in the pipeline became non viable. People investing in wind have no idea if they are going to be able to sell it to the grid and so on. There is no quota set for the quantity of renewables-based supply to the ESB.

In Ireland the carbon credits were passed on to the likes of CRH instead of low carbon projects.

A national currency based on energy resources would be a disaster for Ireland, but a great incentive to become energy self-sufficient.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:25 pm

cactus flower wrote:
There's certainly call in Ireland to have tax incentives for investment in renewable energy technology.

The whole area though reminds me a bit of the dot.com bubble. There is tremendous instability in the investment environment for renewables. Germany pulled some grants for solar (I think) a few weeks ago and a pile of projects in the pipeline became non viable. People investing in wind have no idea if they are going to be able to sell it to the grid and so on. There is no quota set for the quantity of renewables-based supply to the ESB.

In Ireland the carbon credits were passed on to the likes of CRH instead of low carbon projects.

A national currency based on energy resources would be a disaster for Ireland, but a great incentive to become energy self-sufficient.
Yeah, I called it a bubble originally by mistake in the first post there today but I think I meant to say 'Boom'. Like a few other bubbly markets, the alternative energy one has natural limits - people only need so much energy, there's a limit on credit available and there are no doubt limitations technically as well as planning restrictions and anyway in the end it's likely to become saturated too like the housing market or the flood of second-hand cars that are now there.

There must be markets there that can bubble up and expand indefinitely though, almost. What about software entertainment, education or the TV drama boxset market? There must be some bubble that can keep on expanding ...
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:42 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
There's certainly call in Ireland to have tax incentives for investment in renewable energy technology.

The whole area though reminds me a bit of the dot.com bubble. There is tremendous instability in the investment environment for renewables. Germany pulled some grants for solar (I think) a few weeks ago and a pile of projects in the pipeline became non viable. People investing in wind have no idea if they are going to be able to sell it to the grid and so on. There is no quota set for the quantity of renewables-based supply to the ESB.

In Ireland the carbon credits were passed on to the likes of CRH instead of low carbon projects.

A national currency based on energy resources would be a disaster for Ireland, but a great incentive to become energy self-sufficient.
Yeah, I called it a bubble originally by mistake in the first post there today but I think I meant to say 'Boom'. Like a few other bubbly markets, the alternative energy one has natural limits - people only need so much energy, there's a limit on credit available and there are no doubt limitations technically as well as planning restrictions and anyway in the end it's likely to become saturated too like the housing market or the flood of second-hand cars that are now there.

There must be markets there that can bubble up and expand indefinitely though, almost. What about software entertainment, education or the TV drama boxset market? There must be some bubble that can keep on expanding ...

The problem is that the network is in the grip of the ESB and government and they have no environmental agenda. There's no way individuals can circumvent it and choose to buy from sustainable sources except via the ESB. The Airtricity thing is hard to understand, although we have it, and I'm not sure if its available to households. If the ESB choose carbon sources, there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it. If anyone is reading this and can fill in detail or correct, it would be appreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:46 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Even if there was never such thing as climate change, wouldn't it be half wise to base a money system on excess co2 emissions and pollution, and generally waste and inefficiency? It's sort of the opposite to the Gold Standard - money supply can expand as long as it's sustainable-based money. It's a sort of ceiling for money expansion, but it doesn't mean money can't expand sideways. By sideways I mean alternative.

You mean a form of Carbon Standard? It's an interesting thought but I wonder how we could quantify co2 emissions and pollution. Gold is much easier in this regard since it's there and measureable in a safe. CO2 is a fairly ephemeral substance so it'd be difficult to base a currency around it. Untile we can do that, I feel a simple polluter-pays model is the best for reducing emissions. If polluters are made to pay the social and environmental cost of their activities, then we can get a good reduction in our ecological footprint.

Quote :
But this does look like a good solution - nearly a magic bullet as you say. Is 1 or 2% less still a bit too high? It would be around 5.5% like a mortgage I presume. Education loans are 6.6% from the Credit Union, an institution which Squire was lauding this morning. I think these low-rate loans could become a feature of money - as I say, they are a new type of money based on sustainability and natural rhythms and needs.

Yeah, they would be great and we should look to build a healthy, competitive market in eco-loans to drive the economy back to growth, reduce our emissions and energy intensity and sort out some of our current account troubles.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:56 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Even if there was never such thing as climate change, wouldn't it be half wise to base a money system on excess co2 emissions and pollution, and generally waste and inefficiency? It's sort of the opposite to the Gold Standard - money supply can expand as long as it's sustainable-based money. It's a sort of ceiling for money expansion, but it doesn't mean money can't expand sideways. By sideways I mean alternative.

You mean a form of Carbon Standard? It's an interesting thought but I wonder how we could quantify co2 emissions and pollution. Gold is much easier in this regard since it's there and measureable in a safe. CO2 is a fairly ephemeral substance so it'd be difficult to base a currency around it. Untile we can do that, I feel a simple polluter-pays model is the best for reducing emissions. If polluters are made to pay the social and environmental cost of their activities, then we can get a good reduction in our ecological footprint.

Quote :
But this does look like a good solution - nearly a magic bullet as you say. Is 1 or 2% less still a bit too high? It would be around 5.5% like a mortgage I presume. Education loans are 6.6% from the Credit Union, an institution which Squire was lauding this morning. I think these low-rate loans could become a feature of money - as I say, they are a new type of money based on sustainability and natural rhythms and needs.

Yeah, they would be great and we should look to build a healthy, competitive market in eco-loans to drive the economy back to growth, reduce our emissions and energy intensity and sort out some of our current account troubles.

I know a guy working on a project funded by the US Government (the scoundrels) which seeks to put a carbon value on all sorts of diverse things. I don't know if they planning to link currency with CO2 but they are trying to make it a real part of costs and benefits. I don't see the point in linking money to CO2 when it doesn't necessarily follow that it will lead to sustainable growth. For example, destitute areas are experiencing population growth at far higher rates than well off areas. Also, what do we do if there isn't enough carbon wealth to go around? Do we starve people?

I think that Carbon costs and ecological values have to be taken into account in developed countries to get control of what is happening. Furthermore, developing countries need to be compensated on an ongoing basis for their forests, wildlife, delta systems and protected fisheries by the rest of the world. We are getting value out of unspoilt and protected nature and we want to keep it so why shouldn't we pay for it?

We also need to support those activities which lead to sustainability such as peaceful law based societies, women's rights, women's education and so forth. A value needs to be put on these activities too because ultimately they have an ecological impact.


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:00 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:58 pm

*** Zhou_Enlai has a post just above this ***


Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Even if there was never such thing as climate change, wouldn't it be half wise to base a money system on excess co2 emissions and pollution, and generally waste and inefficiency? It's sort of the opposite to the Gold Standard - money supply can expand as long as it's sustainable-based money. It's a sort of ceiling for money expansion, but it doesn't mean money can't expand sideways. By sideways I mean alternative.

You mean a form of Carbon Standard? It's an interesting thought but I wonder how we could quantify co2 emissions and pollution. Gold is much easier in this regard since it's there and measureable in a safe. CO2 is a fairly ephemeral substance so it'd be difficult to base a currency around it. Untile we can do that, I feel a simple polluter-pays model is the best for reducing emissions. If polluters are made to pay the social and environmental cost of their activities, then we can get a good reduction in our ecological footprint.

Hmm - I'm not fully sure what I mean there myself - is it really that difficult to quantify it? Could we use a parts per million figure from years ago and go with that one? Say it's a sliding figure between 250 ppm and 500. If ibis were here he'd know the exact amounts which are apparently dangerous for the world.

Can we do a thought experiment now? Say we have no baselines just ceilings? So, a country or bloc is allowed to print money willy-nilly, galore etc. However, if it starts to produce too much CO2 then it has to start paying or buying carbon credits from someone else. It's only allowed to buy a certain amount too.

So, that would keep a check on runaway consumption of polluting machines and maybe stimulate economies into thinking of ways to reduce CO2 but keep big cars or houses or whatever - maybe invent machines or plant trees.

This is another thing - if a country changes its pattern of trees and volume of trees then it also pays. If there is found to be a certain amount of price inequity with food then it is fined further. I'm sure these things could be worked out so as to avoid Zimbabwe's situation of runaway inflation.

Does that sort of make some kind of sense at all?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:


Does that sort of make some kind of sense at all?

It does and I think several conferences between the world's finance, foreign, agriculture and economy ministers along with leading economists, scientists, climatologists and the like would be able to get all the necessary details hammered out. The EU Carbon Trading Scheme is an attempt at what you describe in your post.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:08 pm

I think one should differentiate between carbon ctrading and linkin currencies to carbon.

To link currencies directly to carbon has a number of difficulties:
- it requires all currencies to be linked in a way that requires regulation rather than a market. That is politically unachievable.
- it is not clear how much carbon emissions you would be allowed? tonnes per head of population, tonnes per square mile?
- such a system acts as a check to economic growth but will not necessarily stop the growth of population and the increases in pollution.

If the wealthy nations agree to compensate the poor nations for their ecologial wealth and to reward them for advances in women's rights then that will help matters. The reason carbon trading and carbon credits are favoured is because they might actually be achieved. They indirectly link a nation's wealth to its carbon emissions and so affect currencies without being a basis for the value of currencies.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:12 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
We also need to support those activities which lead to sustainability such as peaceful law based societies, women's rights, women's education and so forth. A value needs to be put on these activities too because ultimately they have an ecological impact.

I think one should differentiate between carbon ctrading and linkin currencies to carbon.

To link currencies directly to carbon has a number of difficulties:
- it requires all currencies to be linked in a way that requires regulation rather than a market. That is politically unachievable.
- it is not clear how much carbon emissions you would be allowed? tonnes per head of population, tonnes per square mile?
- such a system acts as a check to economic growth but will not necessarily stop the growth of population and the increases in pollution.

If the wealthy nations agree to compensate the poor nations for their ecologial wealth and to reward them for advances in women's rights then that will help matters. The reason carbon trading and carbon credits are favoured is because they might actually be achieved. They indirectly link a nation's wealth to its carbon emissions and so affect currencies without being a basis for the value of currencies.

We should continue with this thought experiment of mine.

So, let's say money can just be printed in billions and billions but it must be handed over if certain conditions aren't met - what would they be?

Serious pollution based on CO2 per capita
Erosion of land and natural assets like forests (more forests, less money to hand over)
Use of water
Obesity in the population (fat people = hand over money)
Levels of education (your country has uneducated people? = fork up)
Poor media coverage of international events and information = cough up

I'll think of more later. I don't know how to integrate human rights and women's rights in there - arrgh is my system falling apart already ??


Last edited by Auditor #9 on Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:14 pm

Auditor, we could just set up a tariff system for the societal ills you mention above.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:19 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Obesity in the population (fat people = hand over money)
Levels of education (your country has uneducated people? = fork up)
Poor media coverage of international events and information = cough up

Sound like a tax on the lowest earners! Shame on you. Good thing FF are in power to stop this madness!
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:20 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Obesity in the population (fat people = hand over money)
Levels of education (your country has uneducated people? = fork up)
Poor media coverage of international events and information = cough up

Sound like a tax on the lowest earners! Shame on you. Good thing FF are in power to stop this madness!

That is one potentially unwelcome aspect of this new settlement.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:28 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Obesity in the population (fat people = hand over money)
Levels of education (your country has uneducated people? = fork up)
Poor media coverage of international events and information = cough up

Sound like a tax on the lowest earners! Shame on you. Good thing FF are in power to stop this madness!

hehehe - I'm not talking about this country - he hehe hehehe

Why are low-earners obese? Doesn't make sense. If they are at risk of heart disease and diabetes then it might be good for them to get stimulated into avoiding their excess when they find themselves indulging in too many Catch® bars.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:31 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Obesity in the population (fat people = hand over money)
Levels of education (your country has uneducated people? = fork up)
Poor media coverage of international events and information = cough up

Sound like a tax on the lowest earners! Shame on you. Good thing FF are in power to stop this madness!

hehehe - I'm not talking about this country - he hehe hehehe

Why are low-earners obese? Doesn't make sense. If they are at risk of heart disease and diabetes then it might be good for them to get stimulated into avoiding their excess when they find themselves indulging in too many Catch® bars.


Hm. We had a chat about this once before. I looked stuff up and found that a healthy balanced diet is beyond the means of most people on low incomes here. The only way to stay alive is to eat cheap carbs.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:42 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Hm. We had a chat about this once before. I looked stuff up and found that a healthy balanced diet is beyond the means of most people on low incomes here. The only way to stay alive is to eat cheap carbs.
I recall it vaguely though I wouldn't agree with you though I think you found a study ..

Is it really not possible to get a balanced diet in this country when you are on a low income though? Isn't food cheap enough and an apple a day and isn't meat cheap?
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:51 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Hm. We had a chat about this once before. I looked stuff up and found that a healthy balanced diet is beyond the means of most people on low incomes here. The only way to stay alive is to eat cheap carbs.
I recall it vaguely though I wouldn't agree with you though I think you found a study ..

Is it really not possible to get a balanced diet in this country when you are on a low income though? Isn't food cheap enough and an apple a day and isn't meat cheap?

No-one agreed with me or my study I found Sad

It really is not possible to eat proper food without enough money, a lot of people in Ireland are below the poverty line, and then they are so stressed they really can't help smoking.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:54 pm

jaysus how do raw carrot eaters survive? I knew a girl who used to bake her own bread with currants and raisins and supplement that with bags of dried stuff - fruit and nuts and stuff.

She's still alive and has a baby and all.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:08 pm

cactus flower wrote:

The problem is that the network is in the grip of the ESB and government and they have no environmental agenda. There's no way individuals can circumvent it and choose to buy from sustainable sources except via the ESB. The Airtricity thing is hard to understand, although we have it, and I'm not sure if its available to households. If the ESB choose carbon sources, there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it. If anyone is reading this and can fill in detail or correct, it would be appreciated.

The ESB has a plan to be Co2 neutral by 2035 and has 20 billion to spend on lower carbon alternatives in the next 10-20 years, I think. Airtricity is smaller, but is open for business customers, and will take on domestic buyers if asked, I think, but does not advertise. They also have expansion plans, although that bog bust in Kerry might take the shine off the wind industry for a bit. The reality at the moment is that wind can only fill about 20% of the national grid because of variability concerns. What we need is tidal... the scheme in Strangford Lough is the first of its kind and I'd love to know how it's doing. Rolling that out largescale might solve all our probs....was out for a walk on the beach on Sat night and the energy in those breakers had to be seen to be believed.

But the other half of that equation is energy efficiency. I don't want to sound like a big fan of Parlon and his merry men in the CIF, but the idea of low cost loans to upgrade houses is pure genius. I live in what is termed a mature area of Co. Dublin, half the housing stock was built while Queen Vic was still in power and no-one has changed any of the windows since. Furthermore, Victorians built houses to avoid rot... i.e very draughty! Many of the people living in the older "posher" parts of our Glorious Capital are older people who bought larger period homes when they were as cheap as chips in the mid eighties (you could get a house with a view for 60 grand in the middle of the slump then). They are now retired and often don't have the resources to match the square footage of their houses , nor to do them up!! You see 'em on the market for millions...and then they need another million or two to keep the roof on!! Pensioners with Band G energy inefficient houses... they'll all freeze to death if nothing is done! It costs 2 and a half grandingtons at least to put a double glazed sash window in an old Victorian house, such that they look like the originals.

Meanwhile on our more modern mid Eighties estate, 80% of the houses are single glazed still, although 4 of us in our cul de sac got the winders done this year

I'm just jarred off we've done all the work already!
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:15 pm

Oh and re food, I cannot believe that the majority has a food price problem when we are still spending more per capita on booze than nosh. Welfare recipients and pensioners excepted perhaps.

If one is prepared to live on carrots, cabbage, mince, spuds, apples and bread and butter, it is probably possible to eat nutritiously and survive OK.... shepherds pie and sausages! Not stunningly healthy, unless lots of exercise can be added to the equation.

But I'd have to say, rates of obesity in Dublin appear orders of magnitude lower than in the UK, South Wales in particular. You used to look twice if someone was skinny, there.
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:26 pm

expat girl wrote:
The reality at the moment is that wind can only fill about 20% of the national grid because of variability concerns. What we need is tidal... the scheme in Strangford Lough is the first of its kind and I'd love to know how it's doing. Rolling that out largescale might solve all our probs....was out for a walk on the beach on Sat night and the energy in those breakers had to be seen to be believed.


Here's my favourite wave device at the moment



And Treehugger (or Ecogeek) usually cover every new thing that happens in the energy world quite satisfactorily that I don't seem to want to find any other sites though I know they exist.

The Strangford Lough report for example
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/07/commercial-scale-tidal-power-turbine-feeds-electricity-to-grid.php

In general
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/05/wave_and_tidal_1.php

I'm not sure what you mean by there being a ceiling on wind here ... does it mean you think we haven't got the fossil power plants which will adjust for the variability successfully? Shouldn't we be researching wind batteries properly though? Hydrogen has got cheaper to produce recently with new catalysts being developed and there may be the possibility of storing excess energy in cars or something though switching mechanisms on that scale could be a pain.

Algae is my other favourite at present and it will be worth seeing where it goes in future. We have good conditions here for its growth though we may need more heat, I don't know. Some pilot projects over two years might kick off private sector interest.

And the CIF proposal will be ingenius if it gets off the ground and people buy it but it is the type of thing the country needs. Plumbing and water next Wink
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PostSubject: Re: The Irish Economy: What Needs to Be Done?   Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:24 am

I believe that if we encourage a mix of wind, wave and solar power, we can meet well over half of our energy requirements in this country. Add our own natural gas supplies and a residual contribution from turf, we can bring our energy imports from 90 down to 20% of our total consumption. This would cut a few percentage points off our current account deficit and add several percentage points to economic growth.
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