Bru­ton sig­nals car­bon tax rises

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - KEVIN O’SULLIVAN En­vi­ron­ment and Sci­ence Edi­tor

New Min­is­ter for the En­vi­ron­ment Richard Bru­ton will out­line a pro­posed tra­jec­tory of ris­ing car­bon taxes early next year go­ing up to 2030.

In set­ting out what the level of car­bon tax will be in five years and in 10 years, it would need the co-op­er­a­tion of both Govern­ment and the Oireach­tas, he ac­knowl­edged. The mea­sure was against a back­drop of the re­cent UN re­port that showed risks from cli­mate change were “on an es­ca­lat­ing scale”.

“In­creas­ing car­bon taxes will have a strong role to play, and I be­lieve that we need to set a tra­jec­tory for in­creas­ing car­bon taxes be­tween now and 2030. It is im­por­tant that peo­ple have this cer­tainty,” Mr Bru­ton told the Cli­mate In­no­va­tion Sum­mit in Dublin Cas­tle.

The move would al­low peo­ple to start to make de­ci­sions in light of the tra­jec­tory. The de­ci­sion not to in­crease the car­bon tax in last month’s bud­get ac­knowl­edged that peo­ple were of­ten locked into fos­sil fuel use and had ex­pe­ri­enced a sharp rise in prices re­cently, he said, but that could not al­ter nec­es­sary long-term cli­mate ac­tions.

In his first state­ment on cli­mate change since tak­ing of­fice, Mr Bru­ton an­nounced, with the Taoiseach’s im­pri­matur, that he is to lead the de­vel­op­ment of an “all of Govern­ment” plan which set out what ac­tions ev­ery de­part­ment must take in re­sponse to cli­mate change.

“Ire­land is far off course to achieve the CO2 [re­duc­tion] tar­gets which we have com­mit­ted to.

“I want to make Ire­land a leader in re­spond­ing to cli­mate change, not a fol­lower. That will re­quire a sig­nif­i­cant step change across Govern­ment,” he added.

Ire­land as a leader

Be­ing a leader meant “act­ing now, stretch­ing our­selves and seiz­ing the en­ter­prise op­por­tu­ni­ties in a low-car­bon econ­omy . . . Be­ing a fol­lower means the fi­nal costs of ad­just­ment are much higher and op­por­tu­ni­ties much lower or com­pletely lost”.

He added: “It will re­quire a revo­lu­tion in how we live. Ev­ery per­son, ev­ery com­mu­nity, ev­ery busi­ness, ev­ery home and ev­ery school will have to make changes in the way we live and work and learn.”

Given the scale of the chal­lenge, there was a need for grow­ing po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus on this, Mr Bru­ton said. “I in­tend to work with all par­ties and none, and with the Oireach­tas Com­mit­tee on Cli­mate Ac­tion.”

The Na­tional Mit­i­ga­tion Plan was an ini­tial first step to set Ire­land on its way to de­car­bon­i­sa­tion but “by its own ad­mis­sion it was not a com­plete roadmap.

“We now need to move to un­der­tak­ing that more de­tailed map­ping of the jour­ney we need to travel will be done,” he said.

Min­is­ter for Cli­mate Ac­tion Richard Bru­ton: Ire­land off course on car­bon tar­gets

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.