Green diesel in crosshairs as Greens call out ‘harmful subsidies’

The Green Party has homed in on “harmful subsidies” which include reduced rates of excise on marked “green” agricultural diesel, and supports for peat cutting in its latest pre-election statement.

In a statement today, Friday, January 24, the Green Party warned that the cost of inaction on the climate change front is “already starting to add up”.

The political party says that, in 2020 alone, the Irish state will have to spend over €7.5 billion more than it should have to “in just a few areas”.

We need to tackle this we must invest in infrastructure that reduce these costs over time, the party states.

In a breakdown of this figure, the Green Party claims the costs will include:
  • €400 million from “energy poverty payments” to help Irish people heat their homes properly;
  • €2 billion through poor air quality costs in the form of health-related costs and lost work days;
  • €2.6 billion from 1,600 premature deaths through poor air quality;
  • €275 million through carbon credits and carbon fines;
  • €500 million on traffic congestion in the greater Dublin area based on current traffic numbers; and
  • €1.73 billion in “harmful subsidies”.

Expanding on its “harmful subsidies” point, the party statement says:

“The Irish state continues to subsidise fossil fuels. Support for peat extraction through the PSO (Public Service Obligation) levy is completely at odds with the Government’s commitments to reduce emissions.

“This forms part of an overall energy policy that misses out on the enormous economic benefits of harvesting offshore wind energy.

Indirect subsidies also pose a substantial cost to the exchequer. Chief among these are the reduced rates of excise on auto diesel, marked diesel, fuel oil and kerosene.

“A recent report by the ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) puts the value of these indirect subsidies at €1.73 billion,” the Green Party statement says.

Commenting on the party’s statistics, Green Party finance spokesperson Neasa Hourigan said: “If you have a leaky bucket, do you keep filling it with water or do you fix the holes in the bucket?

“We have to ask do we continue to pay people to heat inefficient homes or do we retrofit them and make them warm and healthy?

Do we continue to treat people for respiratory illnesses, or do we scale up emission-free public transport and cars?

“The Government continues to discuss the costs of climate action as a major burden, but inaction is costing us dearly and that needs to be acknowledged,” Hourigan concluded.