Ireland will waste over €100 million a year on Kyoto overshoot bills

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A report by Government consultants issued today estimates that Ireland will overshoot its carbon emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol by an annual average of between 6.8 and 8.1 million tonnes during the period 2008 to 2012. The government will have to buy pollution permits on the international market for this overshoot. The consultants estimate this will cost between €100 million and €120 million euro a year (15 euro a ton). But with the price of carbon currently running at €22 a ton and as likely to increase as decrease the actual cost could be €180 million a year.

Just how badly wrong Ireland has got its climate policy is revealed by the fact that €180 million was the estimated total for the whole five year period (2008-12) when the government let it be known it planned to buy its way out of its Kyoto commitments less than a year ago. €180 million is more than was spent on the recently suspended PPARS payroll system in the health service and three times what was spent on the e-voting machines.

Ireland was given a generous allowance within the EU under Kyoto with permission to increase our greenhouse gas emissions by 13% over 1990 levels. This report concedes the likely outcome is between 25% and 28% over 1990 levels.

The government is saying that they will halve the overshoot and the consequent outlay of taxpayers money with yet to announced new policies to reduce emissions.

Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan, commented "It's hard to have confidence in this government's promises on climate change. They ditched the main planks of their existing climate policy when they failed to move Moneypoint power station from coal to gas and abandoned the planned carbon tax. They have been promising new policy measures for over two years but as yet there is nothing to show for it."

"This waste of taxpayers money could have been avoided if the government had vigorously implemented its previous climate policies. For example a carbon tax would reduce the overshoot and raise the revenue from the polluter to buy any required permits. Unless we introduce a carbon tax before 2008 the burden of paying our Kyoto fines will fall on ordinary taxpayers."

The worrying thing for the future is that everyone is agreed that the 2008-2012 period is just a baby step on the road to preventing climate chaos. If Ireland is to do its fair share to tackle climate change it will have to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

To read the consultants report on the Department of the Environment's website click here.

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Climate Change