THE Government needs to target Big Oil and tax profits on fossil fuel companies before any attempt is made to hike the carbon tax, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith has said.
Speaking on the Floating Voter podcast on independent.ie, she also said hikes in public transport fares – she claimed cash fares have risen by 87pc since 2011 – was forcing people to remain in their cars, resulting in higher transport emissions.
“That’s not serious about dealing with climate change. That’s taking people out of public transport, into their cars or onto their motorbikes,” she said.
The Dublin South Central TD also said that hiking the carbon tax on motoring and home heating fuels from €20 per tonne at present would not achieve the deep emission cuts required to avoid catastrophic climate change.
She said “massive” intervention was needed at a “systemic” level including investment in renewable energy, expanding the public transport system and reducing fares, and retrofitting homes.
Imposing a carbon tax hike was “putting the cart before the horse”.
“I’m absolutely for a carbon tax on the profits of the oil and gas industry, not on the ordinary average worker and consumer,” she said.
“The economists will tell you we can’t tax the oil and gas industry at the rate which it needs to be done, it has to be done at a Europe-wide level. Europe might be willing to discuss it, but we’re not willing to discuss it in this country.
“We don’t want to tax profits. We have created a tax haven. The oil and gas industry make an absolute fortune, and if we tax them we will reduce their addiction to carbon.
“I do think you put the cart before the horse if you say carbon tax but don’t talk about retrofitting homes.”
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