A fossil fuel, peat, is being used by a desperate political party, the Center Party, to prop up their falling support base. They are basically demanding that the government makes a deal to allow them to continue either with outright financial support or with tax reductions.
One can understand the plight of the few hundred companies that are scraping peat from swampy areas here but there are serious challenges to its continued use:
- The cost of using peat for heating has increased because of the increased cost of carbon emission certificates.
- Peat is not a renewable fuel and ancient wetlands are being drained and emptied and burning peat emits plenty of greenhouse gases like coal. Both facts have been recognised by the general public and there is growing concern that this would not continue.
Peat entrepreneurs have invested in land and machinery and they need some form of compensation because they are sitting on stranded assets, but they are too small a community to create a government crisis.
The other topic raised by the Center Party, which appears to be a secondary topic, is the question of government debt. Money borrowed must be repaid and reforms are necessary. The pandemic has caused huge extra costs and the only way to cover these costs is to increase substantially the employment rate. This can only be secured by the following:
- By getting more of the unemployed to work by redesigning unemployment benefits,
- By making sure that the unemployed have access to needed education and training opportunities,
- By letting firms agree wages at the local level,
- By stimulating investment in R&D, and
- By making immigration easier for trained and skilled foreigners.
The political parties should agree together and stop arguing just to gain political points. New elections will solve nothing since all of the big parties have shared political responsibility the last decade, and so far the needed reforms have not been implemented by any of them!
Photo: Wiki Commons – Peat moss, a common soil amendment by Ragesoss