Environmentalists? They may contain traces of nuts
OK, class, what's it to be? A return to something approaching a reasonable standard of living? Or a pointless and slavish adherence to some arbitrary environmental rules that have been handed down to us by our European overlords?
We've been hearing a lot about our economy being on the up, which is all well and good. After all, it seems that all the news bulletins for the last seven years or so have blended into one terrifying gestalt of misery and financial horror stories.
In fact, there were times when it was hard not to imagine highly competent broadcasters such as Bryan Dobson and Sharon Ní Bheoláin weeping as they prepared their script for that night's litany of job closures, bad bank news and footage of shadowy foreign bureaucrats emerging from official buildings after giving our Government a Titanic wedgie.
Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news (well, some people do, but they're to be avoided at all costs) and half the newsreaders on this island must be on the verge of PTSD from the amount of terrifying announcements they've had to deliver.
But while the beleaguered broadcasters of RTÉ, TV3, Today FM and Newstalk might be understandably relieved that they now get to bring us the occasional nugget of good news, none of us is actually seeing the benefits.
If anything, it's like we've been stuck in a lift that broke from its moorings and is falling fast. But now comes the news that the rapid descent is slowing down - good news for those who may survive the impact, but rather irrelevant to the ones who will die anyway.
Still, we're told things are improving and, if nothing else, that's better than constantly being told things are going to get even worse.
But it would appear that there is a new threat to our economic recovery. It's not the unions, it's not the public service workers who have already started bleating about getting their snouts back into the trough. It's not even the lunatic fringe of the Left who have embraced our depression with all the gusto of one of those mad people on Henry Street who finally find their predictions of the end of the world finally coming true.
No, it would appear that the recovery might be hampered by our apparent need to meet some climate change objectives by 2020. Or, in the skewed way in which unelected officials often see things, we have been warned that an improving economy will 'threaten' our chances of hitting the 2020 targets.
According to the Department of Transport's sustainable transport division, in concert with the Environmental Protection Agency, there is "a significant risk of a material shortfall in emissions reductions and renewable energy targets by 2020". And the reason for any such shortfall?
Well, as businesses get back on their feet, this will lead to an increase in carbon emissions as transport increases and they argue that "transport emissions are closely coupled to economic growth and the EPA's projections reflect this with transport emissions projected to show strong growth over the period to 2020 with a 15pc to 23pc increase on current levels".
Now, you might be forgiven for thinking this is a good thing. But, apparently, it's not.
Because who cares about piffling, materialistic things like more jobs and a return to a basic standard of living when we're not proving ourselves to climate change fanatics in Europe?
It says a lot about the mentality of these people that they could look at a country finally beginning to emerge from the worst financial catastrophe it has ever endured and concluded that it was probably a bad thing. Because of the polar bears, like.
But the reality for those of us who actually live in the real world is that our climate change goals - we suffer the highest targets in Europe, alongside those other infamously industrialised mass polluters, Denmark and Luxembourg - are absolutely irrelevant. They are a nonsense, and should be treated with all the scorn and contempt we can muster.
I wish I could see our recovery through the prism of potential environmental impact, I really do. And I rather wager you do, too.
Because if the only thing that excites you about our recovery is the fact that we may or may not meet some figures which were pulled out of a hat by Brussels, then you must have had a pretty easy ride over the last decade of calamity.
In fact, I'd go as far as to argue that the only people who are more concerned about climate change than they are about jobs are completely and utterly mad, or they have drunk a full bottle of the climate change Kool Aid. Which, not uncoincidentally, means that they are quite mad as well.
If we accept that the climate is changing, which most of us do, then we are faced with the question of what we can do about it. And here's the unfortunate reality - nothing.
If we accept that pollution causes climate change, which seems pretty obvious, then what can we do about it? Here's another unfortunate reality - there's nothing we can do about that, either.
For God's sake, they're building a new power station every week in China. India is a massive polluter. Developing countries pay some lip service to climate change when a buffoon from the UN comes by for a photocall, but every Government in the developing world knows that if they placed the demands of some climate change pointy beards over the needs of their own people, they would be lynched by those very people. And the people would be right.
But the very same type who sneer at the old Ireland when people were slaves to the Church, fail to realise that they have become adherents of a different, but even more destructive faith.
If you place gesture politics (and that's all these targets represent, a gesture) above jobs and the financial situation, then you're nothing but a fanatic.
And one with plenty of money, presumably.