Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that individuals will not be penalized if climate emissions targets are not met and has called the idea of banning second-family cars “pretty ludicrous”.
Yesterday, an unnamed government source leaked details of a proposal to limit families to one car if farming emissions targets are not met.
Mr Varadkar said the agriculture sector is expected to reduce emissions by 22 to 30 percent, which he says is significantly less than other sectors.
“The smallest contribution we ask from all sectors is the agri-food sector, why is that? Because it’s special, because we recognize that it needs to be treated differently, that it’s about food production, which is essential… and because farming and farming is a way of life,” he said.
Mr Varadkar said the government also accepts that “farmers and industry need help” to meet the targets.
Speaking of The Last Word with Matt Cooper He said people “could get hung up on numbers and percentages” and needed further discussion on “how” to meet the targets. He said there was “a lot of scaremongering” around the climate targets and he didn’t agree with capping the number of cars in each household.
“I think it’s pretty ludicrous and I’m a member of government and I’m not aware of any suggestion to tell families they can’t have a second car. I don’t know where it’s coming from,” he said.
“Neither do you, because it was someone who made an anonymous comment, but unfortunately sometimes these things get legs. I think there is a lot of scaremongering about climate protection at the moment. These goals are very ambitious and we must do everything we can to achieve them… but we will not penalize and punish people if they cannot be achieved.
“If it’s like we can’t meet our transport emissions targets, are we really going to tell people we have to impound your car? If we just say we can’t meet our building emissions targets, should we say we have to close your house and move in with someone next door? Of course not, and that also applies to agriculture.”
Mr Varadkar said it was possible to turn climate action into “economic opportunities” but argued that a “huge amount” of investment in the national power grid, the ESB and in private companies would be needed.
He said the data centers “of the future” must be powered by renewable energy. He added that tech companies are keen to keep their data centers in the countries where they operate and acknowledged the government needs to “prioritize” those tech companies that have “real economic benefit to Ireland”.
Referring to the rising cost of living, Mr Varadkar said there will be “a series of one-off” measures in the upcoming budget to help people who are struggling, including a minimum wage increase and an income tax cut package.
However, he defended the government’s policy of not taxing aviation fuel, saying as an island nation we are dependent on aviation.
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar is due to become Taoiseach later this year and he said the agreement was reached between the three ruling parties and not the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.
Mr Varadkar said he would not comment on speculation that current Taoiseach Micheál Martin could lose the lead at Fianna Fáil ahead of the handover.
“It is not an agreement between the leaders. So if for any reason I ceased to be the leader of Fine Gael, the agreement would still stand,” he said.
“The leadership of each party is that party’s business… I have worked very closely with Micheál Martin in recent years. We got to know each other very well. I think he does an excellent job as the Taoiseach. i respect him I trust him. I look forward to working with him in the years to come.
“Leadership of Fianna Fáil is her business, so obviously I would try to work with the leader of Fianna Fáil,” he added.
https://www.independent.ie/news/tanaiste-leo-varadkar-says-government-will-not-take-peoples-homes-and-cars-if-emission-targets-are-missed-41855972.html Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says “the government will not take people’s homes and cars” if emissions targets are missed