Friday 25 January 2008

Climate plan to cost 1bn Euro per year but inaction 'will cost more'

A RAFT of new targets introduced to tackle climate change are set to cost Ireland around €1bn per year.

On average, every person in the EU will pay €3 per week towards the ambitious plan which amounts to over €12m each week in Ireland alone.

The cost of the overall EU plan works out at an average of 0.5pc of EU gross domestic product (GDP), meaning Ireland could face an even bigger annual bill, according to European Commission estimates.

This would be over €900m using current figures.

The cost of doing nothing to slash greenhouse gases would be even more costly, the Commission warned yesterday.

While the measures would cost all European consumers, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: "The cost of inaction is up to 10 times more than what we are proposing."

Laying out a sweeping strategy to fight climate change, the Commission called on EU members to use renewable energy and biofuels while unveiling plans to make industry pay for the right to pollute.

The implementation of the climate change package will cost the EU bloc an estimated €60bn.

President Barroso tried to dampen fears that this would harm the competitiveness of European companies.

"Responding to climate change is the ultimate political test for our generation," Barroso said.

"Our package not only responds to this challenge, but holds the right answer to the challenge of energy security, and is an opportunity that should create thousands of new businesses and millions of jobs," he added.

The measures are designed to put into action the aim set by EU leaders last year to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20pc by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. Member states gave a mixed reaction, with Germany expressing concern that the plan could lead to job losses.

Gareth Morgan
Irish Independent

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