With an ongoing global pandemic and the constant threat of Brexit taking us into 2021, some might think that sustainability would be put on the back burner in Ireland’s budget for 2021. However, with the green party in the government coalition, ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath have stressed the need to continue to focus on reducing carbon emissions and tackling the climate crisis, alongside the pandemic and an imminent recession. Taxes introduced showed that Ireland is starting to think about getting serious when it comes to addressing the issue of climate change.
The chart below shows how carbon intense European countries are. This measures how much CO2 emissions are produced per kilowatt hour of electricity consumed. Ireland is in the bottom half of countries in Europe, meaning that there is plenty of room for improvement. The carbon taxes introduced by government last week indicate that changes are needed for Ireland to collectively work towards a more sustainable future.
Budget 2021 will see an €7.50 increase in carbon tax to €33.50 per tonne of carbon dioxide with plans for the tax number to increase each year for the next 10 years with the tax reaching €100 by 2030. This went into place immediately with most seeing a rise in prices of diesel and petrol. This all follows up on Ireland’s Climate Action Bill published earlier this month that aims to have Ireland at net-zero emissions by 2050. While this tax number seems insignificant, it can add up for your business, especially in industries like manufacturing and any others that rely on diesel and petrol.
For Ireland, the carbon tax is a small step in the right direction. However, the country cannot tax its way to net zero emissions without addressing supportive environmental infrastructure and creating incentives to switch. For people choices need to be made when it comes to purchasing greener cars like hybrids or electric cars as well as making homes more energy efficient. For businesses that produce a lot of carbon emissions, the time is now to find ways to reduce carbon emissions. With the tax set to increase every year, the potential increase in expenses will mount every year your company doesn’t act upon this. Overall the budget indicates Ireland knows it needs to take steps to ensure a more sustainable future for all.