Published: Fri, 28 September 2018
MEP for Ireland South and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Sean Kelly, has called on the Government to ensure that money raised from the auctioning of carbon emission allowances is allocated to supporting the workers and areas set to be impacted by the transition away from carbon intensive energy sources, such as peat.
Speaking from Killarney this morning (Friday), Mr. Kelly made the following comment:
“Emissions from large power plants, such as the plants in Edenderry and Shannonbridge, are regulated by the EU’s Emission Trading System (ETS), which provides that the required permits to burn fossil fuels in the EU are auctioned on the market. These permits are getting gradually more expensive, with the current price at around €20 per tonne of carbon emitted, up from around €7 this time last year, with the price increase expected to continue.
“The revenues from these auctions are traditionally used for clean energy and decarbonisation investments, for example, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and carbon capture and storage projects. However, during the recent negotiations on the review of the system, we in the European Parliament pushed the European Council to include a ‘Just Transition Fund’ to support areas impacted by the closure of factories and power plants.
“The use of the money for this purpose is optional for Member States, and that is why I am today calling on the government, as it puts together it’s National Climate and Energy Plan for 2030, to ensure that an adequate percentage of auction revenues are ring-fenced for impacted areas, such as those whose local economies are dependent on jobs in peat and coal power plants, to ensure they are not left behind in the fight against climate change.
“The ‘Just Transition Fund’ is intended to promote the re-skilling and up-skilling of workers, education and job seeking initiatives, among other things to support laid off workers and impacted towns. This could be crucial for places like Edenderry and Shannonbridge as we move away from peat-powered stations over the next decade.
“Ireland is moving towards a low-carbon economy, and this will accelerate in the coming years. It is vital that this transition is fair and inclusive, and ensures that nobody is left behind. The use of the ETS Just Transition fund will therefore be a very important part of the plan”, he concluded