John Barry: The Irish Academy of Engineers Review of Ireland's Energy in the Context of a Changing Economy has been discussed over on irisheconomy.ie. I was amused to see in the report itself lots of references to the need for non-ideological and 'evidence based' science to underpin energy decisions in Ireland in more recessionary times. I was amused in that looking at the expert panel there are not one, but two 'ideologically' committed pro-nuclear advocates, which rather em.. undermines the 'non-ideological' 'evidence base' for the report's conclusion that, guess what, Ireland needs to scale back renewables and promote nuclear! One of the recommendations of the Review is that the government, "Support the consideration of all feasible mainstream technology options with long term potential and remove inappropriate constaints such as the legislative barrier against nuclear generation." That both Ed Walsh (former president of University of Limerick and well-know pro-nuclear and climate change sceptic) and Frank Turvey (founder of BENE - Better Environment through Nnclear Energy - though of course not listed as such in the report) were part of the expert group which produced the report does weaken its claims of objectivity. In fact, I've nothing against ideologically motivated debates about energy and technology - anyone who thinks one can seperate the two are fooling themselves.
John Barry is Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen's University, Belfast. He is a Green Party councillor on Ards and North Down Borough Council since 2014, and is a former co-chair of the party.
He was Acting Director of the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's University Belfast and is currently Reader in Politics in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy and Assistant Director of the Institute for a Sustainable World.
He has written many books and academic articles on sustainable development, environmental policy and the economics of sustainability. He is co-editor of two academic journals, Environmental Politics and Ecopolitics Online.