The President of the Irish Road Haulage Association, Verona Murphy, has claimed it is outrageous that politicians are making policies on carbon tax when they do not know enough on the subject.
She told Green Party leader Eamon Ryan that he “knows nothing about” the issue of carbon tax.
On RTE Radio One’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show she asked him if he knew the difference between Euro Six diesel and Euro Six gas engines, to which he replied that he did not. They have the same emissions, but are different sizes for domestic or commercial use.
Their robust discussion was in relation to an ESRI report that predicted that carbon tax will have to increase substantially – from €100 per person a year to €1,500 a year – if Ireland is to meet legally-binding targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
A new computational model developed by the institute that factors in economic data, environmental trends and energy consumption, has found carbon tax on fossil fuels will need to increase to €300 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted over the coming decade to avoid substantial fines in the form of compliance costs.
Ms Murphy said the problem is that the report was not issued three years ago as the deadline which has been agreed is unrealistic.
The current rate of €20 per tonne was not increased in the budget as had been widely anticipated, although Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton have confirmed it is set to increase in coming years.
However, a €300 carbon tax would only be sufficient to enable Ireland to meet its targets if there were reductions in agricultural emissions in particular (currently accounting for a third of Ireland’s emissions), the ESRI analysis shows.
Ms Murphy wants “credit where credit is due” and maintains that hauliers are doing more than their fair share. She pointed out that hauliers pay a minimum of 40c, and up to 80c, per litre for Adblue agent which is used to help reduce nitric oxide emissions.
In Belgium, hauliers receive a rebate of 24c per litre. “Is climate change different in Belgium?” she asked.
Ms Murphy asked Mr Ryan if putting nappies on cows made sense given that agriculture plays such a major part in the carbon tax problem.
Mr Ryan said that the problem is the use of fossil fuels as well as agriculture and that reaching a solution was not going to be easy. “This is going to require us to change everything, transport, food, fuel. We need a system that works better for everyone. We have to ensure that it is not punitive, something that benefits everyone.”
He said that everyone will have to play their part.
Ms Murphy called for a fuel rebate. “My members deserve the same as hauliers in Belgium.
“Some people are playing a bigger part than others.”
Mr Ryan said that if the Government relies on “just the carbon tax” then that will not work to reach the targets. He said it should be made easier for people to retrofit their homes.