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Budget Reaction: Kyoto Cop-Out Complete

6 Dec 2006

Minister's claim of "reducing carbon emissions" incorrect

Today's budget makes clear that the Government plans to buy its way out of Ireland's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to tackle climate change. The Minister announced he was putting 270 million euro aside to buy "carbon credits" overseas to cover Ireland's excess carbon pollution. The Minister claimed, however, that Ireland would meet its Kyoto commitment "mainly through reducing carbon emissions in our own economy". In fact Ireland's carbon emissions are rising and the Government's own figures predict a 35 million tonne overshoot for the five year Kyoto commitment period from 2008 to 2012. Today's budget makes provision to buy credits for over half that, 18m tonnes. Business is expected to buy another 10 million tonnes and another 7 million tonnes remain unaccounted for. The Government hopes a new climate action plan will eliminate those emissions, otherwise the taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for that too.

Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, commented:

"With this budget the Government's Kyoto cop-out is complete. The Minister plans to waste 270 million euro of taxpayers' money on buying carbon pollution permits overseas rather than investing in cutting pollution at home. That's more than the 50m euro spent on the e-voting machines, every year, for the five years of Kyoto. Moreover, instead of putting a price on carbon so as to cut pollution and pay for permits the Minister is taking the money from general taxation. So the polluter has no incentive to reduce pollution and the average taxpayer pays the price. It's a form of stealth tax."

For more on the pros and cons of "buying our way out of Kyoto" see IBEC and Friends of the Earth debate Kyoto.

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