Gormley to unveil ‘green’ legislation

THE main thrust of new legislation to combat climate change will be laid out by Environment Minister John Gormley later today.

If passed it would enshrine into law a series of environmental polices that will be used to achieve the country’s target to reduce emissions by up to 30% by 2020.

The outline of the long-anticipated law has been approved by Cabinet and Mr Gormley will detail it when he announces his annual carbon budget this afternoon. It will provide for how much pollutants the country is expected to have generated this year and next. As a result of Wednesday’s budget these emissions will be taxed for the first time.

This pushed the price of petrol up €0.04 and diesel by €0.05. Heating oil will go up by €0.04 a litre next May and briquettes will go up €0.40 per bale and a 40kg bag of coal will cost €1.80 more.

In 2010 carbon will be taxed at €15 a ton which will generate €250 million and Minister Eamon Ryan said this will fund reduced PRSI payment for workers coming off the dole.

It will also fund an 11% increase in the fuel allowance.

The Green Party minister were rounded on during angry exchanges in the Dáil late on Wednesday night for the decision to include agricultural diesel in the levy.

Fine Gael’s Michael Creed said the tax would take €17m off the farming communities.

“What alternative has a farmer? He cannot hitch his plough, harrow, fertiliser spreader or slurry spreader to the back of the DART. He has no alternative,” he said.

The Green Party’s members were shouted down by both the Fine Gael and the Labour party. Deputy Sean Sherlock said the measures took no stock of the plight of ordinary people.

“The Green Party ministers do not realise it because they are on another planet. They do not inhabit the real world. There are people in the real world outside these walls who have been put to the pin of their collar by Ministers who are off saving the planet,” he said.

However, this aside, the Green Party emerged unscathed from the budget.

It’s priorities in the negotiations for the Programme for Government meant education was sparred further cuts.

And €130m of funding was allocated to retrofit houses in 2010 and other energy efficiencies.

Work will be carried out on insulation by utility companies and paid off over time by the home owners.

And Minister Gormley has been able to pursue a review of local authorities to seek greater value for money.


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