Press Release: Climate change IS the challenge of our generation but Budget 2017 falls FAR short of what is needed

Budget 2017 may have brought measures to move Ireland’s transport and energy sectors towards a low carbon future but action across all areas of policy is needed to put the country on a sustainable path.

The Environmental Pillar, an advocacy coalition of 28 national environmental charities, are calling Budget 2017 a missed opportunity to prepare our economy for the impact of climate change and protect our environment.

Minister Michael Noonan emphasised the need for a prudent budget to avoid the failures of the past but the budget cannot be considered prudent if it is not fair for future generations.

Ireland is one of only two European countries who are on course to miss their 2020 emissions targets.

The subsidies that were announced to provide relief for efficient combined heat and power stations are positive but we need to harness the power of every person to reduce energy and every building to produce it.

To meet the scale of the current challenge we need incentives for homeowners, farmers and communities to become renewable energy producers themselves.

Also to deal effectively with climate change we need to strongly incentivise reductions in energy use in our homes and work places.

We also need to change behaviour. Budget 2017 has missed a great opportunity to embrace Green Taxes.

Key failures of Budget 2017:
  1. No incentives to reduce consumption, waste or pollution.
  2. No mandatory feed-in tariffs for renewable energy producers: homeowners, farmers or communities.
Mindy O’Brien, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar said:
“Government speaks about delivering a budget for a fairer society, but we contend that we must embrace a budget for a fairer society for future generations.
“While we are encouraged by the pronouncement to achieve a low carbon society by 2050, we must lay the foundations for this new society now through increased investment in community renewable energy projects and through robust energy efficient retrofit programme for existing housing stock.
“There is little in this budget that supports the move towards a green economy by moving away from taxing environmental ‘goods’ such as income and imposing levies/taxes on environmental ‘bads’.  The government has decided to impose a sugar levy to tackle obesity.  We contend that a similar levy be imposed on disposable packaging such as coffee cups and other non-compostable single use packaging to affect behaviour change.”