Budget 'a scattered and inadequate response to climate crisis'

Friends of the Earth has described today's Budget as "scattered and inadequate in its response to the climate crisis".

The organization's director, Oisin Coghlan, said: "There are some piecemeal measures in the Budget that may, almost incidentally, reduce our carbon emissions. What's clearly missing is a coherent strategy for Ireland to play its part in preventing the climate crisis from becoming a climate crash."

"If the Minister's speech was as weak on the financial crisis as it was on the climate crisis he would have been laughed out of the chamber.

"The Government must learn the lessons of the financial crisis. We have to react now to warning signals on climate change. If we wait for the climate equivalent of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, there will be no way back."

"The Minister spoke some crucial truths today, most notably when he said 'There is too much at stake: we all have too much to lose by not taking action now...Crisis presents danger and today, we have taken action to meet that danger.' But unfortunately the Minister was speaking only about the financial crisis and not about climate crisis which presents an much greater threat to 21st century lifestyles, livelihoods and lives."

"In that context, it's extremely disappointing that the carbon levy has been put off for another year, yet again. Fianna Fáil-led governments have been talking about introducing such a levy for exactly 10 years now, but have so far proved unwilling to grasp the nettle.

"As a result, the taxpayer is facing a €700m bill for Ireland's failure to meet our Kyoto targets. A carbon levy would make the polluter pay rather than the taxpayer. And it would reduce our Kyoto costs by rewarding all those that reduced their footprint."

"In re-prioritizing infrastructure investment, the Minister gave no indication that the pollution impact of each project had been taken into account, something that was promised in the Programme for Government. Without that we risk digging ourselves deeper into the hole of fossil fuel dependence," Coghlan concluded.

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