Greens' pet project to survive cutbacks

 

The Irish Independent has reported that the Government will blow 400,000 on a Green Party pet project, at a time when they are preparing to cut 500m from spending on essential public services.

The cabinet quietly approved purchasing carbon credits for government travel last week. The move was part of deal reached with the Greens during coalition negotiations following last year's general election. The project will be formally delivered by Environment Minister John Gormley next week.

The idea is that taxpayers' money will buy carbon credits every time a minister, their advisors or civil servants travel abroad on essential government business. It is estimated that the backdated bill for the carbon credits will be around 400,000.

The agreement in government for carbon credits is that 3.50 will cover a return flight to the UK and 6 for a round trip to Brussels. Other European destinations will cost 11, east America 34, Central America 36, Australia 114, Asia, 64, the Middle East 40 and central Africa 34.

In the Programme for Government, it was suggested that carbon credits could be bought by funding the planting trees to create 'urban forests' in Ireland. The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government later issued a statement saying - 'Offsetting carbon emissions from air travel isn't a cure for climate change, but a way to compensate for greenhouse gases from necessary air travel'.

Sources close to Minister Gormley said - "It is used by a number of countries in Europe as best practice."