Wednesday 26 June 2019

It will cost €50bn to make homes greener - and families will have to contribute, says Varadkar

Proposals: Climate Minister Richard Bruton will publish his action plan to combat global warming in the next couple of weeks. Photo: Mark Condren
Proposals: Climate Minister Richard Bruton will publish his action plan to combat global warming in the next couple of weeks. Photo: Mark Condren

Cormac McQuinn and Eilis Ryan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said no government would be able to find the €50bn required to upgrade homes as part of the battle against climate change, and householders would have to contribute.

Climate Minister Richard Bruton's action plan for how Ireland will combat global warming is nearing its completion.

Reports over the weekend suggested it will include proposals to ban new oil and gas boilers and to increase carbon tax from €20 to €80 a tonne by 2030.

Mr Varadkar said the action plan would be published in the next couple of weeks. He said that "we all know that we need to do more when it comes to climate change and climate action", and pointed to Ireland lagging behind in meeting its carbon emission reduction targets.

He was asked whether there would be more supports for householders seeking to make their homes more energy efficient.

Mr Varadkar said: "We also need to be honest with people.

"The cost of retrofitting and insulating all of our homes in Ireland is about €50bn. No government of any colour or any party would be able to find that kind of money, even over 10 years."

He added that the cost of changing Irish cars from petrol or diesel to electric would be between €20bn and €30bn.

"It's a huge amount of money and it can only be done over time... government can help with the cost but ultimately the responsibility will fall on individuals over time to change their cars, to change their vehicles, to upgrade their homes," said the Taoiseach.

He conceded that proposals in the action plan could "potentially" make houses more expensive.

However, he added: "You have to think of the opportunity too.

"All of us spend an absolute fortune heating our homes. The actual savings over a lifetime are much greater than the cost of insulating your home or building it right in the first place."

Irish Independent

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