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Ireland has spent €121m on carbon credits due to failure to reach emissions targets

The government will have to pay out additional funds next year.

State will have to pay between €2 million and €13 million for additional carbon credits under the Kyoto protocol next year.
State will have to pay between €2 million and €13 million for additional carbon credits under the Kyoto protocol next year.
Image: Shutterstock/noel bennett

IRELAND HAS PAID €121 million to date purchasing carbon credits in order to comply with its international environmental targets.

Next year, the government will have to pay out additional funds for its continuing breaches. 

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment estimates that the State will have to pay between €2 million and €13 million for additional carbon credits under the Kyoto protocol in 2020.

A special chapter by the Controller and Auditor General (C&AG) dealing with greenhouse gas related financial transactions was discussed at the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today.

The C&AG said the credits currently held will not be sufficient for 2020, and stated that the cost of next year’s credits will depend on the prevailing market. 

He said that under the rules, credits must be bought when target breaches occur. 

The revenue from the purchased credits is divided among EU member states, with 50% of the monies being spent on climate action programmes. 

Since 2013, Ireland has benefited from €367 million through the Kyoto protocol Effort Sharing Programme. 

The practice of purchasing credits when the State fails to reach its targets was previously criticised by Seán Fleming, chair of the PAC, who stated that it is the “biggest act of gross hypocrisy”. 

He said the narrative from this government is “if we don’t meet our targets we can buy ourselves out of it”. 

At today’s PAC meeting, Brian Carroll, Assistant Secretary General of the department was also asked about the Taoiseach’s comments in Zagreb on how the cost of retrofitting all homes in Ireland would be a “phenomenal” €50 billion. 

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane said the public were fed up of figures being bandied about with far off timelines, adding that it was “impossible” that the State would pay that much.  

“That is what we need to do by 2050,” said Carroll, who said the Taoiseach was referring to an investment figure out to 2050.

“Where is the money going to come from,” asked Cullinane, who said that he could not envisage a government taking €50 billion out of the Exchequer.

Carroll said the €50 billion was based on today’s retrofitting costs. “Retrofits costs will fall,” he said. 

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