Budget 2024 must deliver a Just Transition

Posted on Friday, 1 September 2023
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Budget 2024 must ensure that our investment strategy supports the ambition of the climate action plan, a just transition to a green economy, emission reductions, and expedites progress towards our 2030 targets while building a sustainable, resilient, vibrant society and economy. 



Social Justice Ireland proposes a Commercial Air Transport tax in Budget 2024 to yield €215m.  This would ensure air travel makes a contribution to carbon budgets for the transport sector in line with the ‘Polluter Pays’ Principle and the Environment Liability Directive while Government proactively pursue the removal of the exemption of Jet Kerosene from excise and carbon taxes at EU level. Airlines and business air charter companies operating in Ireland will pay a per-passenger charge of between €5 and €30, depending on destination, on all commercial flights, with a seating capacity greater than 10, departing Irish airports.

Aggregate Levy

To promote the recycling of aggregates (rocks, sand and gravel) in the building industry, and the re-use of old buildings, Social Justice Ireland proposes the introduction of an aggregate levy of €2.50 per tonne in Budget 2024.  This would generate an estimated yield of €75m.


Social Justice Ireland proposes that €85m be allocated in Budget 2024 for a retrofitting programme modelled on the Energiesprong programme in the Netherlands with €10m targeted for improving ventilation in public buildings.  €20m should be invested in a pilot Building Renovation Passport Scheme to support step by step approach to retrofitting.

Energy efficiency

Government should allocate €1 billion from windfall revenue gains in Budget 2024 for investment in offshore wind energy to accelerate existing plans, secure our renewable energy infrastructure and meet our climate targets.  Investment in our renewable energy generation capacity is key to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and meeting our 2030 targets.  €100m should be invested in the development of renewable energy sources, €2m of which should be ringfenced to establish a network of community energy advisors. We propose an initial allocation of €30m to upgrading the national grid and a reform of the RESS auction to make it more accessible for communities, individuals and farmers.  €15m should be invested in expanding the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.  The PSO levy should be reorganised according to average demand,  as a first step to ensure that Data Centres make an appropriate contribution to Ireland’s renewable energy targets. 

Reducing Waste

To reduce the level of municipal waste going to landfill and promote the use of re-usable, biodegradable and compostable products, Social Justice Ireland proposes an investment of €82m to support the rollout of the proposed deposit and return scheme for sealed beverage containers in Budget 2024.  This would boost recycling and yield an economic return of approximately €96m per annum.

Biodiversity and Nature

Budget 2023 should invest €10m in the National Parks and Wildlife Service and in the National Biodiversity Centre to scale up policies to support biodiversity, to mainstream biodiversity into economic decision-making, and  support community led projects. 

Investing in the Future—the Circular Economy

Social Justice Ireland proposes an allocation of €10m in Budget 2024 to begin the rollout of the Circular Economy Strategy concentrating on areas such as sustainable agriculture, living labs focussed on agro ecology, bio-economy, plastics, and the piloting of a circular economy town. 


Government should pilot Farm Sustainability Passport scheme at a cost of €5m in Budget 2024 to support farmers to move to environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural methods. 

Fossil fuel subsidies and tax expenditures

In Budget 2024 Government should begin the process of ending fossil fuel subsidies and environmentally harmful tax expenditures. These not-insignificant resources (€2.2bn in revenue foregone in 2020) should be invested in in renewable energy, addressing energy poverty and a deep retrofitting programme for homes and community facilities.

A Just Transition: delivery and investment

One of the fundamental principles of a Just Transition is to leave no people, communities, economic sectors or regions behind as we transition to a low carbon future. Transition is not just about reducing emissions. It is also about transforming our society and our economy, and investing in effective and integrated social protection systems, education, training and lifelong learning, childcare, out of school care, health care, long term care and other quality services. Social investment must be a top priority of transition because it  will support those people, communities, sectors and regions who will be most impacted as we transform how our economy and society operates.  The proposed Climate Dialogue must be built on the principle of social investment and just transition. 

In Budget 2024 Government should invest €166m in delivery of a Just Transition.  This investment should support the establishment and work programme of the Just Transition Commission  to be situated in the National Economic and Social Development Office.  This allocation should support the work of the commission, the secretariat function, the delivery of sectoral transition targets across industry, energy, transport and agriculture.  In addition it should fund the establishment of a Just Transition Dialogue framework to support the establishment of an ongoing local, regional and national dialogue on a quarterly basis to monitor progress in meeting climate targets and the delivery of social infrastructure to support communities and sectors most impacted. 

Budget Choices 2024 is available to download here.