I have received representations on the possible introduction of carbon taxation from a number of interested parties, including industrial and commercial concerns. In general, the representations from the industry and commercial interests were expressing concern at possible adverse competitiveness implications of the introduction of a carbon tax.
In addition, a number of organisations which made submissions to the Department of Finance in response to the consultation paper of June 2003 on proposals for a carbon energy tax in Ireland copied their submissions to me. The Minister for Finance has indicated he will be publishing all the submissions received as part of the consultation process on his Department's website.
My Department has provided a submission as part of this consultation process and will continue to be fully involved in the development process. In its submission, my Department has made it clear that in developing the tax framework, a crucial consideration must be the minimisation of any impact on competitiveness. To that end, my Department has argued that companies, which are participating in other greenhouse gas reduction measures such as emissions trading or legally binding negotiated agreements, should be exempt from the tax.
It is also critical that the level of tax be balanced between the objectives of achieving appropriate realistic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and realising these reductions at least cost, thereby maintaining competitiveness in the enterprise sector. In addition, it is essential that the definitive starting date and rates for the tax should be announced well in advance to facilitate proper planning by industry.