The Times view on higher carbon tax in Ireland. A higher carbon tax has been characterised as a punitive measure but voters are already paying a financial price for Ireland’s inaction on emissions. hen it seemed that the government’s record in tackling our rising carbon emissions could not get any worse, a damning figure revealed to the public accounts committee this week underlined the sheer scale of the problem. A staggering sum of almost €87 million has been spent on carbon credits to “pretend” that Ireland is meeting its emission targets, the committee learnt on Thursday. Buying carbon credits has formed part of Ireland’s strategy to comply with its 2020 EU emissions reduction goals, a move that helps the government to avoid paying larger fines for failing to meet its targets. It would appear that the state will be obliged to keep on handing over wedges of taxpayers’ money, because the country is about 75 per cent off course in meeting its 2020 targets to reduce emissions by 20 per cent on 2005 levels. We may have to pay out €6 million to €13 million between now and 2020. s the debate heats up on whether or not the autumn budget should include a higher carbon tax, it’s abundantly clear that we are already being financially penalised for our tardiness in dealing with the threats posed by climate change. The notion that a climate tax is “punishing” the consumer is misleading and disingenuous — we are already being penalised en masse. Given the glacial pace of change, it seems certain that the penalties will increase as successive deadlines are missed. Responding to the revelations to the public accounts committee concerning the almost €90 million carbon credits bill, Oisín Coghlan, director of Friends of the Earth, said: “The cost of inaction will always be greater than the cost of action.” It’s a truth that Paschal Donohoe, the finance minister, would do well to ponder over the summer months as he works on the budget.
Times 15th June 2019 read more »