Environmental groups disappointed by Budget 2018’s lack of climate action

Published by Sorcha McManigan on

October 11th, 2017

Environmental NGOs and the Green Party have expressed disappointment at the government’s lack of commitment on climate action in yesterday’s budget.

Budget 2018 laid out incentives for electric vehicles, a €117m boost for energy efficiency programmes and incentives of €7m to renewable heat generation. Around €35m will also be put aside for the landfill remediation programme, anti-dumping initiatives and the promotion of waste prevention and recycling.

Around €35m will also be put aside for the landfill remediation programme, anti-dumping initiatives and the promotion of waste prevention and recycling.

The EPA will also receive increases in funding to expand air quality and noise monitoring, as well as its research programme with a significant focus on climate change.

There were no measures put in place, however, in relation to the carbon tax, although, a review was announced with a view to bringing forward proposals in next year’s Budget.

A carbon tax on to kerosene, marked gas oil, liquid petroleum gas, fuel oil, natural gas and solid fuels was introduced in 2010.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said that the decision shows a “lack of ambition” and an “absence of any big climate actions”, while Oisin Coghlan of Friends of the Earth described the Budget as a “complete failure” on climate change.

“We get a drop in the bucket on energy efficiency, a few baubles on electric vehicles and a review of the carbon tax”, Mr Coghlan said.

He added that we need far more funding for energy savings schemes as the State’s own figures indicate we “need to invest €2 billion every year from now to 2030 in making homes warmer and less polluting”.

The Environmental Pillar expressed disappointment at the government’s failure to address the 11c price gap between diesel and petrol, despite the revelation of the recent Dieselgate scandal.

The environmental coalition said that it expected to see some moves toward disincentivising diesel due to the “growing body of evidence on the damaging impact of its use on our climate and health”.

The OECD has recommended equalising the rate, while the European Commission has called Ireland’s policy of taxing diesel less than petrol “environmentally unjustified”.

“There is nothing in the Budget, which reflects this urgency to remove the beneficial treatment diesel fuel enjoys in our country,” the Pillar said. “Unfortunately for us, and for the Irish people, the Government has decided to go down another line.”

Despite the budget backlash from environmental groups, the Minister for Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughten highlighted the funding around energy efficiency programmes, renewable heat, and electric vehicles.

“This significant increase in funding allows my Department to deliver a step change in efforts to improve energy efficiency in our homes, businesses and across the public sector,” he added.

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Sorcha McManigan

Sorcha has a Degree Honours in Journalism with French from DIT and is passionate about social issues and radio production