Sustainability, the Environment & Just Transition in Budget 2022
While Budget 2022 contains some welcome measures on the environment it could have been more ambitious in implementing the policies and reforms required to meet our climate targets.
Social Justice Ireland welcomes the reduced public transport fares for young people, the use of carbon tax revenue to fund residential and community retrofit schemes, in particular the €109m allocation for households in, or at risk of energy poverty and the €85m allocation to the Local Authority Retrofit Programme.
The allocation of €98m to the Circular Economy and Protecting Natural Resources must be used to embed the principles of the circular economy into our economy. We regret that the opportunity for ambitious reform was missed. There was no move to introduce a levy on single use coffee cups, no progress on establishing a deposit and return scheme for sealed beverage containers and no attempt to reorganise the PSO levy according to average demand to begin to address the impact of data centres on energy consumption.
Government also failed to take the opportunity to introduce a commercial air transport tax. All sectors must play a part as we transition our economy and society to meet our national climate targets. Budget 2022 has allowed the aviation sector a free pass yet again. It is also regrettable that there was no progress on examining subsidies that the CSO has highlighted as potentially environmentally damaging. These not-insignificant resources (€2.4bn revenue foregone in 2018) could make a real difference if invested in renewable energy, retrofitting and addressing energy poverty. At the very least in Budget 2022 Government should have committed to reporting to the Oireachtas on this.
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