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We face two crises - the Budget must address both

14 Oct 2008

In a Pre-Budget Briefing Friends of the Earth has warned that the Government must address the climate crisis with the same urgency as the financial crisis. The briefing poses four key questions to Minister of Finance, Brian Lenihan. According to the environmental charity the answers in Tuesday's Budget will tell us whether the Government is serious about its commitments on climate change.

Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, said:

"It would be fatally short-sighted if the immediate economic emergency consumed policy makers to the extent that they postponed action on a threat that poses an even greater threat to 21st century lifestyles, livelihoods and lives. It would be like a ship's captain sending all the crew to put out a sudden fire on deck knowing that the ship is also holed below the water line."

The four key questions for Minster Lenihan are:

1. Will the Minister acknowledge, in the Carbon Report part of his speech, the warning from the EPA that Ireland is on course to miss our Kyoto target by 5 million tonnes of CO2 a year?
2. How will he respond to the fact that such an overshoot would cost the taxpayer in the region of 700 million euro between now and 2012?
3. Will Minister Lenihan introduce the Carbon Levy promised in the Programme for Government to make the polluter pay for the overshoot rather than the taxpayer?
4. In deciding which investment decisions to prioritise and which to postpone will the Government keep its promise to factor in the carbon impact in the cost-benefit analysis?

"Both the financial crisis and the climate crisis share similar causes: Poorly understood and badly managed risk on the one hand and weak regulation on the other. Governments need to tackle the climate crisis with the same urgency with which they are addressing the financial crisis. And with the same willingness to put aside long-standing assumptions and embrace fundamental policy shifts. Change is coming. Our choice is whether we manage it or whether is spirals out of control," Coghlan continued.

Download the Friends of the Earth Pre-Budget Briefing here.

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