Social Partners, the Environmental Pillar, say that the hard economic decisions to be taken in the December budget must only be taken when they have been placed in their environmental context. In its pre-budget submission to the Minister of Finance it has offered solutions which allow the government to act sensibly in the context of a fully operational National Sustainable Development Strategy.
“We are on the cusp of major change arising from the overuse of the resources upon which we all depend” stated Michael Ewing, Environmental Pillar coordinator. “It is essential then that in dealing with the economic crisis the government applies the principles of sustainable development in all its decision-making”.
The submission proposes twenty-two measures covering taxes, smart spending, and capital expenditure that delivers both social and environmental benefits.
A shift from taxes on income and profits to tax on consumption of natural resources is advocated. This position is backed by the OECD which recommends the phasing out of all environmentally harmful subsidies, and the replacement of some current taxes with appropriate environmentally related fiscal measures in the framework of a comprehensive environmental tax reform.
Smart spending proposals are suggested to ensure that short term savings will not lead to degradation of the environment and consequent European fines.
Capital expenditure over the coming years should aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change, stimulate the economy, and create employment in the Smart Green Economy
The position expressed in this release has been developed by members of the Environmental Pillar but is not necessarily the policy of each member group in the pillar.
The full document can be viewed at the Environmental Pillar website
The Environmental Pillar representativesare:
Oisn Coghlan (Friends of the Earth),
Karin Dubsky (Coastwatch).
Siobhn Egan (BirdWatch Ireland),
Charles Stanley-Smith (An Taisce).
Michael Ewing coordinates the Pillar’s activities.
About the Environmental Pillar
The Environmental Pillar represents 27 national environmental groups in social partnership. The Irish Environmental Network acts as its secretariat