RTÉ’s environment correspondent, George Lee, wrote on December 6, 2018, that atmospheric CO2 production is deemed as being generated within the state where carbon fuel has been bought, rather than from where the fuel is burned.
Coal, oil or other fossil fuels that have been imported (and sold) within the Irish jurisdiction and then exported (to Northern Ireland) will still command a fine/penalty on Irish Republic’s taxpayers, as the source of CO2 emissions from such fuel is deemed to have been ‘caused’ by importers and users within the Irish Republic.
Mr Lee wrote: “The weaker value of sterling due to Brexit led to a significant reduction in cross-border petrol sales because it made the euro more expensive for motorists travelling from the North.
“The result was a 1.1% reduction in overall transport fuel sales in the Republic of Ireland and a corresponding 2.4% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from (Ireland’s) transport sector.”
One might consider that any ‘Irish’ fossil fuel that is carted to Northern Ireland — in whatever capacity — should be added to the British/UK CO2 national emissions production amount, and not be charged (for the resultant carbon emission penalties) to the Republic of Ireland’s CO2 production measurement.
In the situation that exists — thousands of Northern Irish motorists who travel south for the Republic’s cheaper transport fuel — are contributing to the carbon penalties and fines which are due to be levied on the Irish exchequer (and therefore, the Irish taxpayer) in 2020.
In one of his recent post-budget interviews, the Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohue, was asked why he had not considered imposing a carbon tax on aviation fuel, in his recent budget.
Mr Donohue reasoned that airline operators (who need to purchase aviation fuel at Irish airports) might go elsewhere (to fill their jets with fuel, if he had established such a new tax).
Would forcing airlines flying out of Ireland to have to source their fuel in another jurisdiction not be a good outcome for Ireland, considering that down-the-line carbon fines will have to be paid by the Irish taxpayer on any aviation fuel bought here, but which produces its CO2 across the airspace of other countries?
- This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 14 October 2019.