Drilling for oil to be banned in Ireland - Varadkar

Drilling for oil to be banned in Ireland - Varadkar

Update 3.10pm: Oil exploration is to end in Ireland the Taoiseach has confirmed,

Speaking as he arrived in New York for a special UN Summit on climate change, Leo Varadkar said Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to phase out the exploration of oil.

"I will be informing the UN that after requests from Richard Bruton and I, we received advice from our Climate Advisory Council, and they recommend to change the policy when it comes to exploration, recognising that we end exploration for oil in Irish waters.

"We will continue to explore for natural gas given that it's a transition fuel that we are going to need it for the next few decades as new technologies are developed and deployed. So I'll be making that announcement today," he said.

Mr Varadkar added: "What we're doing in exploration is a big move too [we are] one of the few countries in the world now to make the decision to start phasing out exploration for oil and gas, precisely because we're committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

I know for some people they will say we're not going far enough, other people are saying we're going too far that's often the way it is in politics. But crucially what we're doing here is we're relying on scientific advice, the advice of the climate advisory council chaired by Prof John Fitzgerald.

Mr Varadkar is due to speak at the UN Summit later today where he will promise to ringfence all extra money raised through the controversial carbon tax for climate action and a just transition.

The Government has already indicated that carbon taxes will be increased by as much as €10 in next month's budget.

The Government had also been considering a refund system which would see households get a cheque back in the post, however, this option has now been ruled out.

Mr Varadkar: "Any extra money raised from carbon tax will be ploughed back into climate action. You know, whether it's retrofitting buildings, whether it's renewable engery, whether it's greener farming, all of those things, and I think that's a very serious commitment to say that any money raised from carbon tax the future will be reinvested in climate action."

Earlier: Revenue from raised carbon taxes to fund climate action projects

- By Digital Desk staff

All money raised from increased carbon taxes is to be ring-fenced to fund climate action projects.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will make the announcement at the UN Climate Summit later.

Mr Varadkar is in New York this week for a series of UN summits and meetings with other world leaders.

Today it is the Climate Action Summit where leaders from around the world are expected to outline what they're doing to combat climate change.

Mr Varadkar will address the summit later and confirm that increased revenue from a hike in the Carbon Tax will be ringfenced for climate action projects and funding a just transition.

The Taoiseach expects it to raise billions of euro over the coming years.

An all-party Oireachtas committee has committed to raising carbon taxes from €20 a tonne to €80 a tonne by 2030.

It would mean increases in the price of fuel, briquettes and coal among other things.

The Taoiseach argues that re-investing the money raised in ensuring a just transition will offset the impact of fuel and energy cost increases.

Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton says it is important to help people who may struggle financially with increased fuel costs.

"It's not about raising money for other practical purposes so the idea of ringfencing it and ploughing it back into initiatives that involve transition, protecting those who might be vulnerable to fuel poverty and empowering changes in communities, that's really the way to make sure that carbon pricing is seen as a tool to be a win-win for our community," said Minister Bruton.

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