Dempsey pushes for greener Irish budget

Minister hints at shift in position by finance ministry, reveals support for Irish carbon tax

Irish environment minister Noel Dempsey called for the introduction of more green taxes in Ireland yesterday. Interviewed by the Irish Times newspaper, Mr Dempsey called for green tax measures to be included when the finance ministry unveils the next annual budget in early December. He also revealed his support for an Irish carbon/energy tax to help meet the country's Kyoto protocol commitment to limit the growth of greenhouse gas emissions to 13% by 2008-2012. "We have to seriously engage in the issue because it's not something that will go away," Mr Dempsey said. "I've come to the conclusion in recent months that a carbon tax is unavoidable". No announcement on a carbon tax is expected in the forthcoming budget, but Mr Dempsey said he hoped that car parking taxes would be introduced. According to unnamed sources, the newspaper says, the minister is also pushing for vehicle registration tax to be related to car energy efficiency. Ireland has relatively few environmental taxes in comparison with many EU countries, but set up an inter-ministerial group on environmental taxation in 1996. According to sources interviewed by the Irish Times, the finance ministry is now beginning to look more favourably on green taxes than it has in the past.

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