Tuesday 25 October 2016

The Sun already bombards us with all energy we need

Published 14/12/2015 | 02:30

A woman walks past a map showing the elevation of the sea in the last 22 years during the COP21 near Paris, France
A woman walks past a map showing the elevation of the sea in the last 22 years during the COP21 near Paris, France

The COP21 Global Climate Conference has finally ended after two weeks fraught in controversy, pessimism, optimism and infinite solutions at unsustainable cost.

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The world's climate experts have united to try solving the impossible; Planet Earth will continue to revolve, dissolve, evolve and replenish as it has been doing for millions of years.

For the 'seconds of eternal time' that human forms as now exist on this planet have still left, they should be enjoying the benefits rather than tampering with its maintenance.

Our consuming interest should be in getting rid of all toxins and CO2 gases to make the planet a more hygienic and better place to live on, for our health's sake. If in the process it also helps heal the ozone layers, so be it. At least, the incentive to achieve our targets would be more attractive.

To me, the most valuable outcome of COP21 is the evidence of global unionism on strategies and proposals for funding. It is for those reasons I suggest that of all the energy sources - from fossil fuels to renewables - Solar is the most sustainable, inexhaustible, pure and consistent means of power in existence. Mother Earth assures us the Sun will bombard us with 9,000 times more power than is needed to run every car, heat every home and energise every electrical gadget and factory on this planet.

All Europe's requirement could be provided by lining 0.2pc of the Sahara Desert with concentrated solar power technology - costing maybe €50bn - according to Professor Anthony Patt. A European Union Solar Energy Company could administer, develop and operate an inter-Euro Grid supplying power to all members at fixed price. Not a colossal sum relevant to the €14bn Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) projected input!

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary

New ideas needed for floods

For over 50 years, the Shannon has flooded and the solution has been sandbags. Once and for all, let's have some out-of-the-box thinking on this.

Let us install several pipes of large diameter that, during flood-time, can be opened and the excess water drained away to midland cut-away bogs where it can be stored for piping to Dublin where it is needed.

Yes, it would cost a lot of money but persistent annual flooding of the Shannon will cost more. This should be discussed as a major and urgent Government's undertaking.

Patrick McCusker

Delgany, Co Wicklow

Give schools power to parents

Once again, David Quinn's column is spot on. Shame on Labour and its false sense of equality.

We need to move the argument on in respect of parental power and school diversification. If Ireland was to follow the English model of school funding, it would liberate the whole system and give massive power to parents.

The English funding system works something like the voucher system proposed by Cardinal Bourne of Westminster almost a century ago. Each young person is allocated a sum of money, let us say €5,000, and is free to use that money to receive education in any recognised public sector school. As a school principal, it ensured that I treated every parent and every child as a valuable customer who was free to take their business elsewhere. In my last school, we more than doubled our annual intake from 80 to 180 students and, if we wished, such was the demand for places that we could have increased still further.

I argued this in my submission to the Forum on Patronage but heard no more about it. Its adoption would have freed up the debate about diversification, etc, and would have respected parents' views.

Alan Whelan

Killarney, Co Kerry

Optimism of past was way off

Your editorial on the nurses' strike and what you call 'our dysfunctional health system' reminded me of the totally opposite sentiments which were expressed in the Irish media during the height of the boom.

Then the government were being applauded for offering 'new roads and hospitals where you won't die waiting for a bed'.

This was being hailed as 'an extraordinary journey of sustained national achievement' in which 'all the great battles on corruption and taxation had been won'.

Now more than a decade later, and after the country went bankrupt, corruption and taxation are still making the headlines for all the wrong reasons and the health service is still having problems.

We should, therefore, wonder why the unjustified optimism of the past was not challenged.

A. Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Cynical stuff by the Coalition

The Labour party and Fine Gael must think the Irish electorate are completely gullible. The Labour party's latest 'tactic' is to present themselves as 'going to war' with FG over a 'battle of ideas'. According to Labour, they are the only party able to stand up and battle against FG's Thatcherite right-wingers.

But this conveniently ignores their electoral lies and support for every right-wing and regressive austerity budget since 2011. This obvious attempt to contrive some false conflict between the Coalition partners is a feeble attempt to rescue Labour and keep FG and their coalition in power.

Considering the lies that were told by both parties to gain power when the Irish people were in a vulnerable position, we should not be surprised by what they will do and say to hold on to power.

Criostoir McGrath

Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Lovely letter writers

There was a lovely letter last week on the real meaning of Christmas by Philip O'Neill (Irish Independent, December 9).

I have read many wonderful letters over the years from my fellow letter writers. We already have the 'Book awards' - maybe it's time for the 'Letter awards'?

Just like authors, we also get "writer's block", and it takes a lot of thought and work to keep churning them out - but it's well worth the effort.

Anyway, Happy Christmas to all my fellow scribes, and many more years of happy writing.

Brian McDevitt,

Glenties, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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