Call for EUR20 per tonne of CO2 tax

A tax of EUR20 per tonne of carbon dioxide should be introduced to boost the economy and advance development of a low carbon economy, according to the Irish sustainable development council Comhar.

The recommended tax is roughly equivalent to five cents per litre of petrol and the revenue generated should be used to take “braver” steps to reduce emissions, said Comhar.

Implementing the tax would result in “a growth in GNP, an increase in employment and investment in energy-efficient technologies, leading to a reduction in fuel poverty”.

It continued: “The council believes that any revenues raised should be used to reduce labour tax, compensate low-income groups, and promote further emissions-savings activities.”

Comhar director of research Dr Lisa Ryan said that a tax of EUR20 per tonne of CO2 would generate about €550 million.

The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is mainly targeted at encouraging energy producing firms to reduce their emissions, but Comhar advocated extending the tax to various other sectors.

Aviation and shipping, which were not included in the carbon trading scheme launched in 2005, will be forced to join the ETS.

However, some experts doubt whether they will be able to trade emissions credits to meet their targets as they emissions continue to increase.

Alice Bows told a climate conference at Exeter University that at current rates aviation and shipping will consume “a significant amount of the world’s carbon budget”.

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