We are, belatedly, beginning to dip our collective toe into the hard-decisions stage of our efforts to avert climate change.
Weekend reports, suggesting that the Department of Finance is to oppose a plan to refund carbon taxes through direct payments to householders, will become a bone of contention, but, as the department warns, the uncertainty around funding for the climate action plan limits options — even if sweeteners will be needed for the looming election.
Social Justice Ireland raised another, more pressing issue, certainly one on a grander scale, when it warned that we are making it difficult to achieve sustainable development goals by 2030 and climate commitments for 2020 — five months away — and 2030.
The agency warned that between 2012 and 2016, €4bn a year was foregone through environmentally damaging subsidies, and €2.5bn went on subsidies or tax breaks supporting fossil-fuel use. Some €1.6bn subsidised environmentally damaging activities in farming, transport, or fisheries.
By not acting earlier to change our behaviour and expectations, we have made a very difficult situation even more so.