Irish MPs and senators are split over plans for a fourfold increase in carbon tax to put Ireland on course to meet its 2030 climate change targets, following the yellow vest protests in France.
Hundreds join ‘yellow vest’ protest march in Dublin
Fine Gael and Green Party members of the Oireachtas climate action committee want a report next month to recommend a carbon tax of at least €80 a ton over the next decade, which would add €12 to the cost of filling a car with diesel or petrol and €7.20 to a bag of coal.
Sinn Fein is opposing increases in carbon tax until there is better public transport, grant aid for retrofitting houses, and lower costs for electric vehicles. Fianna Fail is also against recommending a carbon tax rise in the climate action report.
The Greens want the tax to be doubled to €40 next year, with annual increases of €5 over the next decade until it reaches €90.
Eamon Ryan, the Green Party leader, said the money raised should be paid back to households as a carbon dividend.
The rebate would begin at about €200 per household — based on the Greens’ proposed €20 carbon tax increase in next year’s budget — rising to €600 by 2030 if the tax reaches at least €80 per ton.
Ryan said: “We are not going to be given a pass about hitting our carbon targets. We are facing massive fines if we don’t get there, and will face an even bigger task the following decade. We are 70% away from the emission reductions we need, and the government is going to have to change the transport and agriculture sections of the national development plan.”
Brian Stanley, the Sinn Fein spokesman on climate change, said: “We are not going to be bounced into higher taxes, because it won’t change behaviour. We don’t have the alternatives in terms of sufficient public transport and helping people to reduce fuel bills through insulation and double-glazing.
“We don’t have the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, which are a middle-class luxury because they are so costly.” […]
Last year John FitzGerald, chairman of the state’s climate change advisory council, warned Ireland was increasing emissions at a rate of 2m tons a year instead of achieving the required 1m ton per annum reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.