Budget 2020 measures should help kick-start Just Transition

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

September 24th, 2019

Social Justice Ireland has urged the Government to include a €500 million sustainability package in Budget 2020 to invest in retrofitting and to kick-start the Just Transition process.

SJI has said that by including a sustainability package in the budget, the Government can reassure the public of its commitment to its new climate action plan. 

“What better way for Government to show its ambition commitment to the Climate Action Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals than to deliver a Sustainability Package of €500 millio in the budget 2020,” SJI Director Dr Seán Healy said. 

Dr Healy said that such investment would ensure “much needed” funding for areas such as retrofitting, electric vehicle infrastructure, national grid infrastructure and green public transport.

“It would also lay the foundations for a Just Transition, ensuring that those households and communities who will be most impacted by the move to a low carbon economy will be supported,” he added. 

SJI suggests that the State invest €212 million in kickstarting the just transition process and help communities that will be impacted by the loss of employment in polluting industries.

Funds should also support the circular economy and improve the energy sector while “eliminating energy poverty”, the group said.

Industrial Emissions Photo: Dirk Duckhorn
Industrial Emissions Photo: Dirk Duckhorn

€130 million could be dedicated to developing a national retrofitting programme modelled on a similar initiative adopted by the Netherlands, the group said.

The remaining €158 million could be invested in renewable energy, as well as charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and to support nature conservation groups.

Michelle Murphy, SJI’s research and policy analyst, said that the State could support the sustainability package through envirponmental taxes.

“These include investing revenue from a carbon tax into a Just Transition Fund and introducing environmental taxation measures that will promote behavioural change and that ensure every sector makes a contribution,” she said. 

Yesterday at the UN climate summit in New York, the Taoiseach announced that future increases in the carbon tax will be used for the likes of retrofitting and to support a just transition.

According to SJI, the State can guarantee €96 million for the fund by introducing a levy on single-use coffee cups. The remaining €422 million could be raised through a “commercial Air Transport Tax” and by increasing “the carbon tax by €10”, the group said.

“[The] Minister [for Climaet Action Richard] Bruton has stated that our society must take action now to ensure that our homes, our enterprises, our farms and our communities will be resilient in a changing world,” Dr Healy said.

“A Sustainability Package in Budget 2020 is a vital first step toward this. Without it the challenge will be much greater.”

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.