Taoiseach eats less meat to reduce his carbon footprint

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has revealed that he has taken to eating less meat so as to reduce his carbon footprint and contribute to climate change mitigation.

He made the comments at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party today, January 14, where he also outlined his plans to introduce a staged increase on the carbon tax for fossil fuels.

The Government intends to stagger the increases over the next 11 years until 2030, and the Taoiseach said: “We want people to understand what is being done and why it’s in their interest.

“The first piece will be to set a trajectory of what the carbon charge will be in 2030 and by how much it will increase each year to get to that.”

The Taoiseach added that failure to act on emissions would “damage the attractiveness of our food exports”.

He went on to say that the tax increases would happen in a “revenue-neutral” way so that the taxation amount is returned to households, which might be done in such ways as increasing social welfare payments, increasing tax credits, or giving a payout specifically for that purpose.

According to TheJournal.ie, the Taoiseach told reporters about his own individual efforts:

I am trying to eat less meat both for health reasons and reasons of climate change. But I’d imagine, given the amount of travel I do, I’m not the best example.

‘Unfair burden’

Last Friday, January 11, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said that a carbon tax hike would leave people in rural Ireland, particularly farmers, with an “unfair burden”.

“People living in rural Ireland – and especially farmers – will have an unfair burden to carry once again, compared to those living in cities,” argued Fitzmaurice.