The Rural Independent Group estimates the government’s Climate Action Plan will cost taxpayers €125 billion “in one way or another”.
The TDs have warned that the plan will have a “profound impact” on every rural community, whilst “doing absolutely nothing” to reduce global GHG emissions.
They said the plan will cost three times more than the bank bailout and “ramp up” living costs for every Irish citizen.
They have branded the “pie-in-the-sky fanatical” plan as Fianna Fáil’s and Fine Gael’s “political death warrant”.
The TDs have accused the government of “ramming lofty rhetoric and greenwashing down our throats”.
In a statement this evening (Thursday), leader of the Rural Independent Group, deputy Mattie Mc Grath, said:
“Lofty rhetoric is expected from the Greens. However, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are now selling rural communities down the swanny, just to hold onto power. “
“Ministers, who are insulated from the pain, have today hammered every sector crucial to rural life, including agriculture and transportation, with increased living costs, ending both turf-cutting and rural one-off housing, as part of their plan.”
He said the Rural Independent Group is the only grouping in the Dáil to “exclusively oppose” the legislation establishing the framework for today’s announcement.
“Our initial appraisal of the government’s 200-page climate action plan shows it disproportionately targets all rural residents for skyrocketing increases to living costs and removal of ways to earn a living.”
“Warnings by our group around the damaging impact of climate change policies and devolution of power to an unelected quango have now come to pass. This plan outlines a deep reduction in emissions to transportation and agriculture.”
Cumulatively, he said the sectoral emissions reduction targets for agriculture, for instance, will “extensively eradicate” farms and carry “a significant risk” of damaging the economy outside of Dublin.
He said in rural communities, agriculture is a “key pillar” of economic activity and job creation.
In saying so, he pointed to KPMG research, which shows that a 30% emission reduction target potentially means a staggering €3.8 billion hit for the rural economy.
“This is primarily due to the current technology no longer being sufficient, the transition unplanned with the only outcome resulting in deep cuts to the national cattle herd.”
“The government has been using slippery language around any potential cut to the national cattle herd, such as claiming a ‘sustainable’ solution would be optimal.”
“The Agriculture Minister has announced that funding under the new CAP 2023-2027 would only fund 40% of the suckler herd. We will not be fooled by such cynical spin.”
“In fact, when asked at today’s press conference to clarify potential cuts to the national herd due to the climate action targets, the Taoiseach failed miserably to confirm that no cuts would occur.”
McGrath accused the government of “utterly failing” to protect Irish agriculture from this “injurious” plan.
Furthermore, he said they have failed to protect rural citizens, who require a car to travel to work or take children. to school. He accused the government of “aggressively” slashing the transport sector and increasing taxes and charges.
Carbon budgets and EV
He warned proposed carbon budgets will have a “destructive” impact on society. He believes the will expand the costs of living even further, while “chipping away” at Ireland’s food production capacity into the foreseeable future.
McGrath said the Climate Action Plan also has a “bitter bias” against the common car, through a new electric vehicle target.
As a result, he said this “essentially translates” into every single new car purchased from 2024, required to be electric.
“This is despite a lack of charging stations, unreliable electricity supply and skyrocketing electric costs, not to mention the high price of these new cars.”
“To add further irony, manufacturing of EVs results in even more emissions than the car will actually reduce in its lifetime, according to research by the hoover think-tank. Therefore, such logic is completely insane.”
He views proceeding with “damaging” carbons budgets and action plans “in isolation”, without analysis of costs and benefits, as “downright reckless”.