“Future generations will not tolerate inaction”
Today’s BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENT outlined a range of financial measures across society, but on climate it gave a significant first glimpse of government priorities ahead of the next Climate Action Plan.
The government will soon announce the new climate action plan which will outline how it intends to try to respond to Ireland’s role in the climate crisis.
It will be accompanied by a carbon budget setting limits for greenhouse gas emissions, both for the whole country and for specific sectors.
With a target of halving emissions by the end of the decade, there is little time to waste – but opposition TDs have said the budget is “unambitious” on climate measures.
“Future generations will not tolerate inaction”
Opening the part of his speech on climate action, Finance Minister Paschal Donohue said: “Future generations will not tolerate inaction by today’s leaders.
“By future generations, I don’t just mean unborn children. Today’s children, adolescents and young adults are asking for action, they deserve action, ”said the Minister.
“The science is unambiguous. The world is on fire and the only chance we have to control these fires is through coherent and effective policies.
He named the carbon tax – a policy that has created division between the government and the opposition – as one of those policies.
The carbon tax is increasing again from € 7.50 this year to € 41 per tonne, which will increase the cost of gasoline, diesel and household fuels.
In last year’s budget, Donohue said the tax rate will continue to rise over the decade until it hits € 100 per tonne.
The fuel allowance is also increasing with the aim of protecting vulnerable people from rising energy prices.
But for households that generate electricity and sell any excess back to the grid, there will be a “modest tax default” on that income.
The move follows a recommendation in the 2019 Climate Action Plan to develop a framework for microgeneration – the creation of small-scale electricity through renewable technologies.
In addition, 200 million euros have been allocated to the renovation of 20,000 housing units to make them more energy efficient, in accordance with the Housing for All strategy.
“Permanently reducing a household’s energy needs is the best way to fight energy poverty and protect people from the impact of high energy costs,” McGrath said.
“It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands more jobs.”
“To ensure that workers can take advantage of these jobs, additional funding is provided by the Ministry of Higher and Higher Education to expand training programs and apprenticeships in this area.”
M € have been allocated to heritage conservation and management, including biodiversity programs
“The 2020 finance law extended the accelerated depreciation system for energy efficient equipment. In line with the broader government policy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, I provide that equipment directly operated by fossil fuels will no longer qualify, ”Donohue said.
“The program aims to support the transition to low emission fields in the heavy land transport sector,” he said.
Therefore, I am extending the Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) scheme for gasoline vehicles and refueling equipment by three years. As a transportation fuel, renewable hydrogen offers significantly higher carbon savings than fossil fuels, ”he said.
“I am also expanding the program to hydrogen vehicles and refueling equipment. This policy is aligned with the broader government policy to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2050. ”
In a key area for reducing emissions, € 360 million is spent on active travel measures and greenways to encourage walking and cycling.
1.4 billion euros will be spent on plans to “further develop our public transport networks and support the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient transport system,” McGrath said.
This includes investments in investment projects such as BusConnects, MetroLink and Dart +, as well as subsidies for electric vehicles and measures to reduce carbon emissions.
For young adults aged 19 to 23, a new Youth Card will allow them to benefit from a 50% reduction on public transport “in order to promote modal shift in the transport sector”.
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Meanwhile, in an effort to encourage the use of electric vehicles where cars are used, changes to the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) will be introduced from January: a 1% increase for cars. vehicles between bands 9 and 12; an increase of 2% for tranches 13 to 15; and an increase of 4% for tranches 16 to 20.
The budget also extended the € 5,000 relief for battery-electric vehicles until the end of 2023.
However, the climate measures in the 2022 budget have been criticized by opposition TDs as not going far enough to deal with the crisis.
Labor climate spokesperson Ivana Bacik said the budget lacked a “transformative vision” on climate and was “unambitious”.
Bacik said there was a need for “a more ambitious provision”, such as the provision of free public transport for all children and students, as opposed to the new half-price fares offered for 19-23 year olds.
Social Democrats climate spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore tweeted: “The world is on fire Minister, let’s do it.”
“Small steps will not solve the ecological collapse we are facing if we do not protect / enhance / increase our biodiversity … urgently,” said Whitmore.