The Green Party and carbon tax
Sir, – Eoin Ó Murchú (Letters, September 21st) misunderstands the Green Party’s take on carbon “tax”, which is actually a well-researched Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proposal to modify behaviour. Rather than raising revenue, the Green Party proposes to redistribute this national pollution levy to every citizen, by way of dividend, which is a progressive measure.
Implementing moderate and imaginative financial nudges away from fossil fuels now will avoid drastic measures, such as rationing, which would be needed otherwise in only a few years time. All the alternatives – sustainable energy, teleworking, better public transport, etc – are proven, and would bring greater prosperity. Neither working people nor anyone else should have to endure the intolerable climate breakdown and accompanying societal breakdown that is otherwise only a decade or so down the tracks. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Eoin Ó Murchú lambasts the Green Party and by implication other progressives by calling for increased carbon taxes. Sinn Féin and the far-left parties are anti-tax parties, including being against taxes on property and on carbon. It is a fact that taxes on polluting fuels are too low to encourage the shift to low carbon. Increased taxes can and should be used to ease the transition for low-income households.
An OECD report, to be published next month, will show that 44 countries, accounting for 80 per cent of energy emissions, have carbon taxes that are far too low. Many taxes are nowhere near the levels they should be at, such as on coal, flights and shipping.
Climate repair is the existential political issue. It has to be addressed urgently. Tax changes are a vital part of this. It can and must be done equitably.
I notice Mr Ó Murchú refers to taxes as “burdens” and not as “charges” or “payments” for public services, using the language of the right (as do anti-tax lobbyists here). It is only a step from calling taxes “theft”. – Yours, etc,