Focus needs to be on developing a revenue-neutral system that returns money to the tax-payer
The Green Party has called on all political parties and groupings within Dáil Éireann to come together and commit to a joint climate action plan that would help Ireland meet its upcoming climate targets and avoid hefty financial penalties.
Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD says such a plan would give the Irish people a degree of financial certainty going forward, regardless of which party or coalition happens to be in power. The current Minister for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment Richard Bruton TD has already expressed support for such a cross-party approach.
One specific measure that has been the focus of much debate recently is carbon tax, which the ESRI has argued must be increased if Ireland is to have any hope of meeting its emissions targets. However, Deputy Ryan has emphasised the need to make sure any such tax is revenue-neutral. This would offer a different approach to traditional taxation policies, which generally seek to generate revenue for the exchequer, by ensuring that any resultant revenue is returned directly to citizens either via tax dividends or social welfare supports.
“The goal with carbon tax is not to generate revenue but rather to shift public behaviour away from fossil fuels and hence reduce emissions. We therefore need to focus on developing a system that returns any revenue back to the citizen. If we can achieve cross-party consensus on such a policy it would give the Irish people some financial certainty and allow them to make more informed purchases in the short- to medium-term.
“There is a strong indication that the Irish people want collective action on the issue of climate change, and we already have a suitable forum in the Oireachtas Climate Action Committee to facilitate the forging of a consensus. It’s time for our elected representatives to stand up and be counted. It’s time for a united political response to one of the greatest challenges facing our generation.”
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