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Greenish Politics in the Emerald Isle (an energy item for St. Patrick’s Day)

By Michelle Foss -- March 17, 2009

Environmental protection and economic progress can and should be complementary. Innovation and deployment of naturally better technologies can enable us to be greener, wealthier, and happier.

But the politics of climate change can ruin the synergy. It becomes “environment” versus the economy. A case study is Ireland.

Ireland is a home to green politics, and, as in many other countries, the focus is on greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation policies. While green activism has grown both through formal green political parties,and through sympathetic factions working within formal institutional structures, more important still is the ability of greens to exert pressure through coalition politics, especially in parliaments. This can imbue green parties or green-party sympathizers with considerable power to “gate keep” and control agendas.…