Emissions targets ‘will harm Irish business’

Government targets to reduce emissions in Ireland will be hard to achieve without damaging businesses in the country, an industry expert has claimed.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Richard Tol, a researcher with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), explained that current Government targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3% a year to 2012 were only possible through “drastic measures”.

He explained that fuel prices would have to rise about Euro 2 a litre, something that would harm business operations significantly.

“The emission reduction target of the Irish Government can only be met by draconian measures. It would therefore be better abandoned,” he said to the paper.

“If one put the burden on agriculture, half the cattle in the country would have to be culled.

“If it were industry, two-fifths of production would have to move overseas.

“And that would do nothing for global emissions – just moving dairy farming or industry out of Ireland.”

Mr Tol concluded that a slowly increasing carbon tax was the best way to reduce emissions in the country.

A recent report from business organisation the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) showed that 41% of firms thought recent government plans to increase driving costs would harm their operations.

James Cooper

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