Tuesday 25 September 2018

Carbon taxes - including levies on fuel and home heating oil - to rise

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photo: Collins)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photo: Collins)
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Carbon taxes will be increased in a “steady way” to help Ireland reduce emissions and tackle climate change, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced.

Levies on fossil fuels including petrol, diesel, home heating oil and briquettes will ramp-up over the coming years as part of “profound changes” in how we live our lives, he said.

The Taoiseach also told a Project Ireland 2040 event on climate change, held at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, that coal would not be used to generate electricity from 2025, and that peat would be eliminated.

Both coal and peat are among the most polluting fossil fuels, and the Government will also impose a national ban on smoky coal by the end of this year.

“Climate change is one of the existential challenges of our generation,” Mr Varadkar said.

“It's our job to protect our planet and make it healthy and great again. We want to hand over stewardship of our planet to our grandchildren in a much better state then we left it.

“The transition to a low carbon world will require profound changes in how we live our lives. We have longer to travel than other countries.

“It will also mean carbon pricing and increases in the carbon tax. This will happen in a steady way so as not to jeopardise jobs.”

The measures are among dozens needed to help Ireland reduce emissions across all sectors of the economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency says we will not meet legally-binding targets on climate change, leaving the State open to hefty fines which could run into hundreds of millions of euro.

Instead of reducing emissions by 20pc over 2005 levels, the EPA says they are expected to fall by just 1pc.

The event at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin was attended by Climate Action Minister Denis Naughten, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and the taoiseach.

It was designed to set out climate funding under the Ireland 2040 plan, but also highlight how to engage with citizens and communities, and empowering them to act through taxation and other policy choices.

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