Charges and environmental targets
Sir, – A recent OECD report cited by The Irish Times has recommended the introduction of domestic water charges, increased waste fees and congestion charges, purportedly to enable Ireland to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets (“Ireland needs water charges to meet environmental targets, OECD warns”, News, Online, May 10th).
The introduction of such punitive charges would be socially irresponsible and would not constitute a sufficient response to the ongoing climate crisis.
It is of course of the utmost import that the Government implements robust policy initiatives in order to protect the environment, reduce our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels, and dramatically curb our greenhouse gas emissions, which are accelerating the pollution of the atmosphere at an alarming rate and pose an existential threat to the very survival of our species. But burdening working families with more financial woes, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, is both unwise and insensitive.
Massive investment of taxpayer money is required to update our decrepit water treatment system. Unfortunately, the average working-class and middle-class person is not in a position to pay more tax, especially as we enter yet another recession.
As the fifth wealthiest society on the planet, it may be in our interests to consider imposing the heaviest burden on those with the broadest shoulders (ie large multinationals and wealthy individuals). – Yours, etc,