The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has said that it is likely to cost the State up to €150 million to pay for carbon credits to compensate for the fact that Ireland will fail to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy targets.

Speaking at a conference on making Ireland a leader in climate action, Richard Bruton said that Ireland is likely to have to purchase carbon credits in the marketplace for 16 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

He also said that the Department of Finance has instructed all Government departments and agencies engaged in decisions about long-term planning and infrastructure developments to assume the carbon tax, which is currently charged at a rate of €20 per tonne, will be as high as €265 per tonne by 2050.

The Government has already accepted the recommendation from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action to set out a trajectory for the carbon tax to be raised to €80 per tonne by 2030.

The minister said that leadership in every single organisation throughout the economy and society is going to be key to tackling climate change.

He also said that three quarters of the actions required to tackle climate change, which he will outline in the “all-of-Government plan” on climate action, do not impose long-term costs on the economy but that does not mean they do not pose problems.

Mr Bruton said that a lot of the measures will have high up front costs which should pay off for the economy in the long run.

However, how to get people to make the investments required in up-front costs was an issue.

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