Cool reception by Greens as government reveal €22bn to be spent on climate change measures

The government is considering carbon taxes ahead of the Budget as it revealed further details today on the measures it plans to introduce as part of the Ireland 2040 environment plan.

Around €22bn will be spent on the measures in the next decade, while new cars with tail pipes will be banned from sale by 2030.

The Government's range of environmental measures as part of the Ireland 2040 plan come in the wake of yesterday's report that we're the second worst country in the EU for progress on climate change.

The government plans to invest 22 billion euro in environmental measures over the next decade - that's one euro in every five of its capital expenditure.

Mr Naughten was asked if an extra excise on diesel fuel is being considered: "We're reviewing a lot of different regulations at the moment that can act as an encouragement for people to change out of the traditional ways that have a negative impact on climate," he said.

"As part of the ongoing process and preparation for the Budget, we are looking at carbon-related taxation measures."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the majority of the funding is based on the growth in the economy but they'll also have to look at introducing carbon tax to achieve the goals.

The government says the measures will help get Ireland back on track so we can meet our revised emissions targets for 2030 and 2050.

Reacting to the Government’s plan Green Party Councillor and Spokesperson on Climate Change, David Healy, said the plan is ‘business as usual’.

Speaking today, he said that the Government still refuse to face the scale of the challenge facing Ireland, that a complete economic transition is needed, not tinkering around the edges of the economy.

“The Government has today re-announced measures in the National Development Plan addressing climate change. Those measures are welcome in themselves; however, they do not go far enough. They still don't get it that climate policy is about a fundamental transition of the economy, not an add on to business as usual.

“In the electricity generation sector, the Government has still failed to take the necessary decision to stop subsidising the burning of peat to generate electricity. Environmentalists and economists have united to criticise this perverse subsidy for decades, most recently in a scathing article by John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council.

"But still we are stuck with a "co-firing" subsidy in the guise of renewables which actually guarantees higher emissions than if it wasn't in place, instead using the money to achieve a just transition for the communities and workers in the Midlands"

Mr Healy went on to say that in the housing sector, the investment in retrofit is vital, and should be increased.

"But the irony is that the Department of Housing has just completed a public consultation process on Building Regulations in which it proposes to continue to allow the installation of new fossil fuel heating systems. So while one Government department is spending billions to take them out, developers can still put fossil-based systems into new developments.

On emissions Mr Helay said the fundamental change needed is to spend twice as much on public transport as on private motor transport.

"We are still doing the opposite. The National Development Plan contains a long list of major road schemes which will lead to more traffic and more emissions. As a result the EPA and all other predictions are for transport emissions to keep rising rapidly.

“When it comes to agriculture, land use and forestry, it is business as usual. Today's report doesn't even mention the restoration of our bogs, to stop them continuing to emit carbon to the atmosphere. Its forestry policy is business as usual instead of the step change to large scale mixed continuous cover forestry and restoring which we require.

“The Government needs to realise that our climate challenge will not be met by tinkering around the edges of the policy changes required.”

- Digital Desk


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