Will an increase in Carbon Tax kill the Green Wave?

Feb 11, 2020

Last weekend the Irish Nation voted for change at the #GE2020, with the main two government parties not receiving enough votes to form a majority coalition. I am personally really happy that this is the desire of the Irish people, and of course, the raise of the Green Party to 12 seats.

The proposed raise of Carbon Tax by some political parties worries me, and makes me wonder, is that the “change” the Irish public want? Have we succumbed to believe the only approach to climate change is the raise in tax?

I personally believe there could be other initiatives to consider.

A few years ago, I completed a FETAC level 6 course on dog training. Now I am not comparing Irish citizens to dogs, that’s not mi intention at all! But hear me out for 20 seconds.

Dog training is all about positive reinforcement, reward positive behaviour instead of punishing negative behaviour.

There are trainers out there of course that do not follow this rule and punish animals for mis-behaviour. In most cases, at some point in time, the dog will turn on those trainers and bite them, breaking the trainer-dog bond forever.

Behavioural change in animals and humans can be pretty similar.

I agree with most actions proposed by the Green Party here in Ireland, but I do wonder if raising Carbon Tax will become the moment when the “dog” bites back. When the Irish public turns against the Green Wave and everything it represents, just because other measures have not been considered as a solution to reducing Carbon Footprint.

We all saw the huge movement against water charges back in 2017. I am an environmentalist and I fully believe in water charges, but I was personally totally against the policies they created, in particular the creation of Irish Water as a semi state company.

So is there room to talk about a different approach to Climate Change other than taxing society?

Let’s take the example of water charges. Instead of saying everyone is going to pay X amount a year for the use of water, how about:

  • Establish what good practice water use should be per household, or per person.
  • Offer tax breaks and incentives to those that use water below the good practice standards

This way, we would be rewarding good behaviour, and ignoring bad behaviour. A little bit similar to what good trainers strive for.

The same could apply to Carbon, rewarding those that consciously make an effort to reduce their Carbon Footprint, and putting a clear tax break programme around those that strive to change their behaviour.

I am no politician and I am sure something like this would be an absolute nightmare to implement. My point is that we have not tried it yet. The discussion has not come around to policies like this, and while Ireland is shouting for change, I am terrified we will continue imposing Carbon Tax policies, and the Green Wave will quickly be a thing of the past.

Change means change. It means finding a different way to approach our current issues, social, economical and environmentally.




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