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Climate Action Plan 2019 - implementing ambitious actions immediately the key to success
Social Justice Ireland welcomes the publication of the Climate Action Plan 2019. This is an opportunity for Government to show ambition and leadership and implement the brave social, economic and environmental policies required to deliver on our national ambition for a low carbon future. Many of the headline policies outlined as part of the plan are welcome, including;
- the elimination of non-recyclable plastic,
- improved Microgeneration Scheme
- increased retrofitting,
- focus on Community Capacity Building, Just Transition and participation
- the establishment of a Just Transition Review Group within the National Economic and Social Council
It is disappointing however that the increased agricultural emissions as a result of pursuing a policy of herd expansion is not addressed, and neither is the aviation sector called upon to play a significant role in delivering reduced emissions in the area of transport.
We welcome the pathways outlined in the plan, however detail in terms of implementation is sparse. We know that we can develop good policy in Ireland, our challenge has been implementing it. There will be intense lobbying from many vested interests, this must be resisted at a political level. If this plan is to truly deliver as ‘our call to action in the fight to save our planet’ as An Taoiseach describes it, then Government must put the national interest ahead of short-term sectoral interests.
Protecting the vulnerable and those most at risk of impact from the changes required to transition to a low carbon economy is vital. Climate policy and mitigation must be delivered simultaneously for a just transition. People and communities must be supported to make the required changes outlined in the Climate Action Plan 2019. To this end Social Justice Ireland proposes that in Budget 2020 Government implement the following policies to deliver on our national ambition of net zero carbon emissions by 2050:
- Increase in the rate of carbon tax by €10 per tonne of CO2 emitted, and use the €212m raised to invest in a Just Transition Fund. This fund must support areas such as re-training and support for those communities who will be most impacted by the loss of employment; investment in policies to combat energy poverty and investment in renewable energy schemes and in community energy advisors and community energy programmes at a minimum.
- Increase Excise Duty on Diesel by 6c per litre and decrease by 6c on petrol to raise €102m in 2020. Increase commercial diesel rebate to compensate those most affected in year one (€22m)
- Remove PSO subsidy for peat and direct that money (€118m) towards renewable energy schemes
- Commercial Air Transport Tax, to raise €210m in 2020
- Aggregate Levy €2.50 per tonne to raise €75m in 2020
- Retrofitting programme and Community Energy Advisors: €130m
- 15c levy on single-use coffee cups to raise €96m in 2020
- Invest in a Deposit and Return Scheme for Sealed Beverage Containers: €5m
- Circular Economy Package: €10m
- Investment in National Biodiversity Centre & National Parks and Wildlife: €10m
- Increase the Electric Vehicle Grant by €1000: €5m
- Increase investment in re-charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles: €10m