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The Irish [green] Budget 2010

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You may read this and suggest that I’ve skipped so many facts and figures to suit… but, I should stick to the programme that is all things green and Peter.

Also one should note that this isn’t an economics weblog [as much as I love the subject] and also that a much greater insight into that can be found over at The Irish Election site amongst the many I read regularly.

With that in mind may I just wish Deidre de Burca a bon voyage and a sincere good riddance. From a really green perspective I wonder what, if anything, was actually achieved apart from sitting down and collecting a pay cheque. That said, it seems a pay rise is on the way, plus expenses…. but of course.

…a very nice €120k salary at a time when salaries here are being cut all round her? I suppose a green politician’s got to do what a green politician’s got a do…

With regards to the 2010 budget itself….. I’ve split this into these sections:

  • carbon taxing
  • forestry
  • vehicles
  • notes from the book of estimates
....?

I tried....

carbon taxing:

The economic and social implications of climate change are immense and it is the responsibility of Governments everywhere to change behaviour to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The most effective way is to put a price on carbon. This will encourage innovation by incentivising companies to bring low carbon products and services to the market.

Changing behaviour takes time but a start has to be made. Today I am introducing a carbon tax equivalent to €15 per tonne. The detail is set out in the Summary of Budget Measures. The tax will apply to petrol and diesel from tonight. Increases to home heating oils and gas will apply from next May.

The application of the tax to coal and commercial peat will be subject to a commencement order to allow a robust mechanism to be put in place to counter the sourcing of coal and peat from Northern Ireland where lower environmental standards apply. A vouched fuel allowance scheme will be developed to offset the increases for low income families dependant on such fuels.

The yield from the Carbon Tax will be used to boost energy efficiency, to support rural transport and to alleviate fuel poverty. The Carbon Tax will also allow us to maintain or reduce payroll taxes.

Carbon taxes will be a feature of economies across the world in the coming years. Today’s announcement sends a positive signal to those gathered in Copenhagen, working for an ambitious agreement on global climate change, about Ireland’s capacity to show leadership.

The tax changes I am introducing today reflect my belief that tax can make some contribution to the reduction of the deficit, and will make a larger contribution in later years. But as we know from our recent history, we cannot rely solely on taxing our way out of our difficulties.

With regard to forestry:

Agriculture is an important component of our economy and this Government has not hesitated to offer this crucial sector support where it was most needed. We responded rapidly to the pig dioxin crisis last year, where we provided some €200 million to save that industry and the jobs within it. We have made a large investment in agricultural infrastructure through the Farm Waste Management Scheme. We remain committed to supporting an environmentally sustainable agriculture sector and are in discussions with the European Commission with a view to introducing a new five year agri-environmental scheme. I have agreed to provide €50 million from within the existing allocation to support this scheme.

I am also providing more than €121 million for Forestry and Bio-energy. This includes a capital provision of €116 million to plant a further 7,000 hectares of trees next year. This demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to this vital sector as set out in the Renewed Programme.

This may sound like a lot of money but one should also note that

  • The current programme sets to plant 20,000 hectares of forest p.a.
  • Only 10% of Ireland is forested compared to the EU average of 36%
  • This should reach 17% by 2035
  • It will take 80 years to reach the EU average at current planting rates. This will reduce that by 4 a little over months.

Improving the energy efficiency of our cars

The Government wants to encourage the increased use of environmentally friendly electric cars and the development of new technology in this field. To that end, the VRT exemption for electric vehicles and the VRT reliefs of up to €2,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are being extended by two years until 31 December 2012. We will also provide support to offset the initial battery costs for such cars. This will help in fulfilling our ambitious goals to reduce transport related emissions.

I am also introducing a car scrappage scheme, to run from 1 January until 31 December 2010. VRT relief of up to €1,500 per new car purchased will be made available under the scheme, where a car of 10 years or older is scrapped under certain conditions. The scheme will have the environmental benefit of removing some older, potentially less safe and polluting vehicles from the road. Details of the scheme are provided in the Summary of Budget Measures.

Others notes of interest come from the Book of Estimates

The Department of Agriculture and food takes an overall drop of €247,937

  • With reference to programme expenditure: the development of agriculture and food budget will drop by 27% from €372,060 to €270,808
  • forestry and bioenergy will increase by 2% from €119,604 to €121,845
  • rural environment will decrease by 11% from €369,129 to €330,000
  • An Bord Bia grant in aid for general expenses will decrease by 4% from 28,221 to 27,230

and from carbon

  • Under the transport estimates [roads] carbon reduction measures will increase from €10,000 to €25,000
  • Under the Department of Environment the carbon fund drops 34% from €50,000 to €33,223 and Climate Change Commitments are noted down 32% from €2,200 to €1,500. Under heritage The National Parks and Wildlife Service takes a reduction of 8% from €34,848 to €32,048. Overall the Dept takes a hit of €345,021

Peter Donegan MI Hort
telephone: 01-8078712
twitter.com/DoneganGardens
info[at]DoneganLandscaping[dot]com

*note: to date no politician has answered the above call. Dan Boyle Of The Greens did say he would talk to me…. but I’ve heard nothing as yet. If this changes I will let you know here.

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Trim 2025 – the carbon [r]evolution begins

Before you read this – read Trim 2025 to go carbon neutral

In what may have seemed, to some, like an almost niaive scenario to percieve… it now seems that young Martin Tighe literally has started what is now the most enviable vision ever to evolve worldwide and this one from a town in Ireland called Trim. Ladies and gentlemen… The carbon revolution has just begun.

In an all star headline act some spoke of the redemption required to change that same old heads of town events, boards and committees…. and whilst the presence of Noel Dempsey may have attracted some – it was the fine and independent minded speaking of David Mc Williams who stole the show.

That was until the music kicked off….

Whether you are 6, 16 or 106 years old… this really was a day for Trim, in its entirety, to stand tall and to be extremely proud. I’m not talking some group of contrary county councillors seeking to prove their worth to the local papers and a bunch of men in suits holding cardboard cheques… This is close on verging Bono country and it is every piece of energy that a green revolution should be.

One last thing before – the last thing…. where the fork where the green party….?

Martin Tighe, stand up sir and take a bow…. The world is watching.


The one thing I took from this…..? anyone, any person all of the doom and gloom merchants, the nay sayers…. you know who you are and if not, everyone knows at least one……. fork you! It can be done. I listened to young Martin. No older that 30 years old – who took on an entire town… and won’t stop there. I listened to Mc Williams…. stuff the government and stuff you if you are sitting on your arse looking for someone to blame. We know what they can’t do…. but you can. And you can. As a btw… I’m almost 10 years in business. I borrowed the tools for my first job. I’ve never been the recipient of any welfare or grants of any format…. and now Martin who doesn’t even live in Trim…..  and you know what he’s right…. I’ll give him the final word….

Many, many special thanks to all the very kind people I met in Trim.

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Trim, Co. Meath To Go Carbon Neutral….?

I got a note on Monday from a good mate Darragh Doyle. He’d suggested that another [nice] guy [and genius photographer] Danny O Brien talk to me. He put me in touch with Martin Tighe who then put me in touch with another photo genius Enda Casey.

So why am I noting all of these people… well imagine this conversation

P: Hiya Danny, Peter Donegan here, Darragh asked me to give you a call…
D: Great stuff Peter yeah… we’ve a rock festival gig on in Trim… with some great bands like The Magic Numbers
P: But… eh…. Danny…
D: Yeah and its in the Trim GAA hall…
P: What the f… eh… Danny…
D: …..And yeah basically David Mc Williams will be there
P: Hey! Danny…..!
D: yeah…?
P: What are you doing on the phone to me…?
D: Oh well…. you know the Copenhagen 2020 climate change conference….
P: what on….
D: well we want Trim to go carbon neutral by 2025
P: Holy fock [silence] is this some sort of focking wind up….
D: [silence…..] no mate, very serious…. it’s on this Friday… can you drop down… in fact i’ll get Martin to call you…. cheers.
P: who….?
D: [silence] ………………laters

5 minutes later my phone rings…. it’s Martin

M: hiya Peter, yeah got your details from Danny so we’ll see you Friday…?
P: yeah… listen Martin… is this a focking prank call…
M: no. its serious stuff. We’ve got Ham Sandwich and The Magic Numbers and David…
P: …..no Martin… the carbon neutral thing is it serious…
M: Jesus yeah. Sure why not… we’ve got great support locally and…..
P: …..so you’re a concert promoter with a GAA hall and….
M: no…. I’m a chemist by trade and I work in trinity college…
P: what the faaaaaaaaaaaaaawk……… Martin? Martin?
M: listen my phones gonna go dead i’ll get Enda to give you a call…..
P: who the what……………….. [line is cut……………]

But turns out Martin and his possé are serious. He explains that this is a not for profit gig. Although he is responsible personally if it loses money. He tells me the GAA hall will take several hundred people and they’ve literally gone all out…. He’s starting to remind me of the dreams I had that almost lost me literally everything. I’ve called him a mentalist twice already and this is my third time…. And it was at this point that I now understood why so many people had signed themselves up to help this guy out…. 

As I said over on Culch.ie

Ever heard of the the Mahons Carbon-Neutral Stage…? Mahons [as a btw] are the local waste recycling business who are the main sponsors of the event. Blah, blah, blah sponsors etc you say….? When a young man decides to put on a rock gig…. Goes knocking on doors and is [in my experience anyway – with all the odd ball stuff I’ve done I would know] told to get stuffed supported by the local business…. they deserve a standing ovation. Fact. And if the organiser[s] is gonna make a loss…. then once again, that would be my experience, I would know, especially with all the odd ball stuff that I have done…. ;) Then fair plays to The Mahon family and The Priory Inn [a great music venue and decent pint by the way] and also emission Zero.

Want to know more….. I certainly do. Wouldn’t it be simpler if they could just forward me on the press release. I’d write a blog post. Job done. But then….. whats the fun in that. Like the Irish Conker Championships…. I’m in. See you there…..

So what else is there on – apart from transport Minister Noel Dempsey….. ? Noel Forking Dempsey…..? In saying that, I’d much rather Noel than the green party….? Who I guess aren’t going. They could do with the PR. In which case fair play Noel for turning up.   

  • Opening Ceremonies: Trim GAA Club, Friday Dec 4th at 3.30pm. Admission Free.
  • David McWilliams: Trim GAA Club, Friday Dec 4th at 5.00pm. Admission Free.
  • Launch Concert: (The Magic Numbers, Ham Sandwich) Trim GAA Club, Friday Dec 4th – Doors open 6.30pm. Tickets €20 Euro from www.tickets.ie
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IT goes green in Cork

Each tonne of paper recycled saves 15 average-sized trees, as well as their surrounding habitat and wildlife. (Source: World Wildlife Fund)

root-ing?

root-ing?

over at Damien Mulleys site I found this green conference for IT people conference. It’s being run by the guys at IT@Cork and they’ve even gone as far as too let people know how they’re making the event green [we could all learn from this].

I think this is great! and pardon the cliché but others should really take a leaf out of IT@Corks green thinking. They do have stepgreen.ie noted on their website which is another good website for individuals and businesses promoting carbon nuetral events.

Now to talk to them about landscaping and plants for the office… ?!