At a press conference in Dublin today People Before Profit launched their Minority Report on the Oireachtas Climate Action Committee Climate Action Report.
People Before Profit TDs Bríd Smith and Richard Boyd Barrett were joined at the press launch by Gillian Brien, Solidarity- People Before Profit European Election Candidate for Dublin; Cian Parry, Student Climate Striker; and Willie Noone, Energy Division Organiser, SIPTU.
The Minority Report (attached) outlines the way in which People Before Profit would implement a response to the Climate Emergency. It details People Before Profit’s rationale for a carbon tax on the profits of fossil fuel companies, food production companies and industries that release large CO2 emissions and outlines the reasons why People Before Profit oppose a carbon tax on ordinary people who have no alternative to the use of carbon.
The report also outlines the need for a new national framework for energy systems and infrastructure; supporting a just transition; citizen and community engagement; education and communication; unlocking potential; energy; agriculture, forestry and peatland; built environment; and transport.
Speaking on the Minority Report and specifically on carbon tax Bríd Smith TD said:
“In this report we have outlined our vision for the way in which Ireland could play its role in tackling the climate emergency that is threating our planet. It goes through, in a number of chapters, the changes that we see as being a part of the way Ireland can move to a carbon neutral society.
“We do not believe in market mechanisms that target ordinary people, who do not have any alternative to carbon. We do believe in a carbon tax, but on the profits of big business, fossil fuel companies, big food producers- the real polluters.”
In a statement on the issue of fuel poverty, Dr Stuart Stamp, Independent Social Researcher and Research Associate, Department of Applied Social Studies, Maynooth University who researched the MABS Report ‘Left Behind in the Cold’ (attached) said: “The adequacy and scope of fuel allowance requires review, as do other relevant social welfare supports (e.g. Exceptional Needs Payments and Supplements), together with income supports for those in low-paid employment. A related, though important issue here is financial exclusion or the inability of many to access appropriate financial services and thereby ‘shop around’ for cheaper energy and sources.
“We need to establish the extent and nature of fuel poverty and the likely impact of increased carbon taxation on all cohorts of the population before we even consider increasing carbon taxes.”
Speaking on the Just Transition, Willie Noone, Energy Sector Organiser, SIPTU said: “As the first test case on how the state deals with Just Transition, the situation in Bord Na Mona appears to mean that their policy is to ‘treat employees abysmally’.
“Mary Robinson recently said that where communities and interested parties undergo Just Transition, there should be provision to allow workers draw their pensions early. This is definitely not happening in the case of Bord Na Mona.”
Cian Parry, a member of Student Strike 4 Climate said: “On the back of the historic school student Strike on March 15 a group of students were invited into the climate action committee. In the Committee the students said they wanted to see the government take big leaps and not small actions. This echoes the IPCC report which said that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented measures’. Despite this it seems to me that the climate action committee intends to implement a series of small actions and limited measures which will fail to tackle this crisis in any serious or meaningful way.”