Eamon Ryan, Ireland’s Green Party Minister for the Environment, looks set to demand the country’s population turn down their thermostats and curb their showering time if they want to save money on fuel. However, Ryan has outright refused to delay the planned increase in carbon tax, despite calls both within government and from the opposition to do so. One opposition Irish politician blasted the move, saying: “...it doesn’t make sense at all that on one hand the government is talking about helping people pay for fuel, and at the same time increasing the price of fuel.” According to a report by the Irish Times, Minister Ryan is to recommend to the cabinet a public awareness campaign that will instruct the public to reduce their energy usage to lower their bills. Included within such an awareness campaign would be instructions to shorten showering times, lower thermostats, only boil a full kettle of water when needed, and take one less car journey a week. What will not be recommended to cabinet, however, is that the country’s planned hike in carbon tax not go ahead. Instead, the Irish Independent reports that Ryan has outright refused to delay or cancel the hike, saying instead that it must be implemented as initially planned, and that he would prefer more “targeted measures” for tackling “fuel poverty”. This is despite the fact that politicians within two of the three members of Ireland’s ruling coalition have called for it not to occur, with one government TD saying that people “are not able to afford it”. The Irish government’s continued plans to hike carbon taxes have been lambasted by opposition parties, with the likes of pro-life party Aontú and left-leaning populists Sinn Féin rejecting the measure. “It makes no sense to proceed with a carbon tax in May, it doesn’t make sense at all that on one hand the government is talking about helping people pay for fuel, and at the same time increasing the price of fuel,” said Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD in an interview with Ireland’s state-owned broadcaster RTÉ. “What we don’t want is the levying of further increases on households and families at a time when people are trying to cope with spiralling inflation,” another member of the opposition, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, is meanwhile reported as saying regarding the rise. However, Ryan is adamant that other measures he is looking at implementing, such as a reduction in the Public Service Obligation levy, though such a measure appears likely to only become an option after next year’s budget is decided in mid-to-late autumn. What’s more, the minister also apparently wants to force further carbon-cutting taxes on the public, including one tax specifically targeting SUV-style vehicles. Ryan is far from the only one who has simply said that the general public should use less energy if they want to save money.
The OECD has recommended that European should turn down their thermostats by one degree in order to bot save money, as well as lower the usage of Russian sourced gas. “Many European citizens have already responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in various ways, via donations or in some cases by directly assisting refugees from Ukraine,” the report said. “Adjusting heating controls in Europe’s gas-heated buildings would be another avenue for temporary action, saving considerable amounts of energy,” it continued. “Adjusting the thermostat for buildings heating would deliver immediate annual energy savings of around 10 bcm for each degree of reduction while also bringing down energy bills,” the report also read.
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