Bruton: Tax changes will shift to fund climate action plans

Bruton: Tax changes will shift to fund climate action plans
Minister for Communications, Climate Action & the Environment Richard Bruton TD & An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD during a Climate Action media briefing on Giving Ireland a Sustainable Future at TU Dublin Grangegorman, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton has said there will have to be a gradual shift in the way taxes are raised to fund climate change plans.

He told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland that he will “certainly” be advocating for a carbon tax increase from 2020, but that the matter is up to Minister for Finance on Budget day.

Mr Bruton said that renewable sources of electricity will need to be ramped up significantly.

“Already this year 12% of new vehicles are electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids or hybrids. That’s up from 1% four years ago.”

He said a rapid transition is happening in the area of electric vehicles and hybrids. He predicted that the price of batteries will come down further.

With lower VRT and greater subsidies, there will be a gradual shift towards electric vehicles which will mean demand for electricity will grow and this, in turn, will mean a great need for renewable energy.

Taxes on petrol and diesel cars will increase because of carbonisation.

Mr Bruton added that while motorists might pay more up front now for an electric vehicle, over the lifetime of the vehicle it will cost less.

He said that the way taxes are raised will change and the revenue generated will be used to help people make changes to their homes and transport.

Farmers will also have to make significant changes, he said and there will be incentives to do so. Farmers will be future proofing their own livelihoods.

Public transport fleets will “steadily” make the transition from diesel to hybrid vehicles, but it will take time, he said.

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