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Progress on Carbon Tax is welcome

Social Justice Ireland welcomed the Budget 2020 decision to increase the carbon tax from €20 per tonne to €26 per tonne. While we had called for a higher increase, of €10 per tonne, we note that this is the first significant increase in the tax since it was introduced almost one decade ago. Furthermore, we welcome the commitment by the Minister for Finance that the additional revenue from this tax will be ringfenced and used to address some of the challenges associated with a transition from our current model of production, resource use and pollution.

We also welcome that the Budget signalled a commitment to implement the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action that the carbon tax will continue to increase and reach €80 per tonne by 2030.

Collectively, these developments reflect an overdue engagement by Government with the unsustainability of our current systems, one reflect in the wide gap between today’s levels of greenhouse gas emissions and the much lower target Ireland had committed to achieve by next year.

Social Justice Ireland has highlighted the importance of investing in a just transition using the additional resources generated from these carbon tax increases. In today’s terms the additional tax revenue will total more than €1 billion per annum by 2030.

At a minimum such a programme should contain:

  • re-training and support for those communities who will be most impacted by the loss of employment;
  • support and investment in the circular economy and bio-economy with regional strategies and targets;
  • investment in the deep retrofitting of homes and community facilities;
  • investment in renewable energy schemes and in community energy advisors and community energy programmes;
  • policies to eliminate energy poverty; and (vi) investment in a quality, accessible and well-connected public transport network.