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Carbon Tax 2020 (Ireland): How it could affect you

With the budget coming out tomorrow night and the wave of protests over the last year carbon tax has been a big story in the country. This blog will help explain the situation and what the increase will impact on drivers.

What is the carbon tax?

Carbon is a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels, this means it is emitted when we use coal, oil, peat and natural gases. Right, so what’s the issue and why are we being taxed on something that emits from burning fuels when that’s been happening for the hundreds of years of usage?

Everything on earth contains carbon, 18 per cent of humans contain carbon when an archaeologist finds an artefact in order to get a rough estimate of when it originated from the date the carbon in it. Carbon combines with other elements to create compounds, the most important being C02. We inhale oxygen and exhales CO2, plants do the opposite. Overtime remains of animals and plants get buried deep in the ground and get formed into fossil fuels due to compression and heat.

When we use these fuels we produce Heat, Water and physical forms of Carbon like soot and grease. It also sends the CO2 back into the atmosphere. So this is where global warming comes into play. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it works the same way a greenhouse does, it traps the heat of the sun on earth. This is fine, however, due to the large amounts of CO2 we have been producing for hundreds of years (since at least the industrial revolution) it has caused even more heat to be trapped in the atmosphere of the earth, causing the earth to heat up a lot more than it should, causing problems with temperature, weather and generally changing climates which cause deforestation, fires and the desertification. This means the environment has been getting destroyed, meaning we can’t use it for farming and animals die as a result. This affects the number of resources we have meaning it could lead to food shortages.

Also note that the pure forms of carbon like soot damage our lungs, blacken buildings and create smogs. The more the earth heats up the more destroyed nature releases CO2 causing the problem to skyrocket further.

This is the line of reasoning that groups like the green party and extinction rebellion are using to push the agenda of a higher carbon tax on the public as a disincentive to using fossil fuels. However one may argue that it’s the big corporations who push the vehicles and machinery that us ordinary people need to get around, and the debate continues from there. Either way, the next section will talk about the budget.

Budget 2020 and the Carbon Tax:

As explained above we can see that the carbon tax is a penalty tax on those using fossil fuels. A very loud section of society has been for raising this carbon tax for a long time now and we will see disruptions in the city centre by global peaceful protest group “Extinction Rebellion” who as of today have already begun to block and disturb traffic after presumably using their holidays from work to protest this week. Some even take up living in Merrion Square to be close to the action.

So its squeaky bum time for finance minister Paschal Dunohoe, it is expected that they will increase the tax from 20 euro to 26 euro. So this means 1.50 euro of tax to fill a car with fuel. This will also impact heating oil, peat and coal too.  He fears backlash from two different angles: our friends above wish it to be somewhere higher, on a trajectory to reach 80 euro, and opposition parties have said they wish it to be introduced but with allowances and transition phases for people who rely heavily on their vehicle or even those of low income.

We will find out fully our faith tomorrow.


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