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Gas bills could rise €20 and oil by €23 if green tax goes up in Budget

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Moneypoint power plant was out of action for long periods

Moneypoint power plant was out of action for long periods

Moneypoint power plant was out of action for long periods

Environmental campaigners want to hike carbon tax in this month's Budget - and it could add €20 to a gas bill and put €23 on a 900-litre fill of heating oil.

The Climate Change Advisory Council is seeking a rise in the levy of €9 per tonne of carbon, warning that "huge efforts" are needed if the country is to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The council warned that emissions of carbon have no really changed and tiny recent reductions were mainly due to unplanned circumstances.

Moneypoint, the coal-burning electricity plant, had been out of action for long periods and then the pandemic hit, slowing economic activity.

"We're relying on one-offs," warned Laura Burke, council member and Environmental Protection Agency director.

"We need to move into action across all sectors. Then we'll see sustained reductions."

The council said the Government should impose carbon tax increases in advance to counteract the fall in oil, petrol and diesel prices over the past year.

A €9-per-tonne increase is higher than the €7.50 set out in the current Programme for Government, which itself was an increase on the €6 rise that had been signalled in last year's budget.

It would add approximately €1.76 to a 60-litre fill of diesel for motorists, €20.25 to an average gas bill and €23.24 to a 900-litre fill of heating oil.

Council chair Professor John FitzGerald said affects on the poorest households could and should be compensated for through the revenues it raised.

"The council is clear that the burdens and benefits of policy measures necessary to tackle climate change must be fairly distributed across the population, ensuring that those on lower incomes or with other vulnerabilities are not disadvantaged," he said.

The council warns that without public acceptance, climate action will fail.

It says: "Citizen engagement is crucial to support increased ambition. A dialogue of blame for emissions is not useful."

The council also calls for a faster roll-out of a planned energy efficiency programme, targeting homes using coal and peat first ­followed by oil.