Tuesday 13 November 2018

Carbon taxes will have to rise to encourage shift away from fossil fuels - Richard Bruton

Mr Bruton was speaking at the Climate Innovation Summit in Dublin Castle
Mr Bruton was speaking at the Climate Innovation Summit in Dublin Castle

Paul Melia Environment Editor

Carbon taxes will have to rise to encourage a shift away from fossil fuels, Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said today.

In his first speech since being appointed, he also said all government departments had to engage with the issue, and he intended making Ireland a leader and not a laggard.

“The decisions we make now in tackling climate change will define the next century. Ireland is far off course to achieve the carbon targets which we have committed to,” he said.

“I want to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, not a follower. That will require a significant step change across government.

“Price matters when it comes to choices. We must discourage new private or public investments being made now which lock us in to high carbon patterns of living. 

“Increasing cabon taxes will have a strong role to play and I believe that we need to set a trajectory for increasing carbon taxes between now and 2030. It is important that people have this certainty.”

Mr Bruton was speaking at the Climate Innovation summit in Dublin Castle. The event is part of Climate Week Ireland, organised by Sustainable Nation Ireland. There was a need for political consensus, and he intended working with all parties to develop solutions, and the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, he said.

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“The National Mitigation Plan was an initial first step to set us on our way to decarbonisation. By its own admission it was not a complete roadmap. We now need to move to undertaking that more detailed mapping of the journey we need to travel will be done.

“I will lead on the development of an all of government plan which will set out the actions which must be taken in every government department and body. The central ambition of this plan will be to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I will be seeking to work with colleagues across government to develop new initiatives across electricity, transport, heat, as well as a range of other sectors.”

Incentives could also be developed to drive behavioural change, he added.

“There are other pricing opportunities which need to be explored. Smart use of pricing can encourage easy changes in behaviour quickly, whether it be ride sharing, night time appliance use or simply more resource conscious choices.

“I believe that the time is right now for the type of deliberate and determined action to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. I believe that the Action Plan for Jobs provides a good template, “ he added.

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