Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Pre-Budget 2022 Scrutiny: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Mr. Sebastian Barnes:

The short answer is we do not have an input into that process. The areas of climate change and carbon budgeting are things, however, that we look and assess from the outside with great interest. Detailed assessments have been made in other countries of how they are going to meet their climate commitments in respect of the policies required and the resultant expected economic impact. I refer to the amount of investment, the shifts in employment patterns and specific changes in taxes that would follow. We would like such a detailed assessment to be done for Ireland. It is one of the things we hope we will get more information on in the climate action plan. That would then allow us to think more carefully about the fiscal implications of what will be major societal change with many impacts on the public finances. In that context, changes in areas such as carbon taxes may raise additional revenues. Additional expenditures, however, may also be required in the current form to compensate some of the people affected by some of the climate policies. In addition, major capital investment will be required and that will contribute to the kind of growth model we will have. There are many moving parts in this context.

The Office of Budget Responsibility, OBR, in the UK, for example, has done some good analysis in this area. It has, essentially, taken work done by the British climate body and translated that in a detailed way into its fiscal implications projections. It is one of the pieces of work that must be done and it is the kind of area where IFAC could have more of a role. At the very least, it is an area we will be considering very carefully because it could be one of the major factors in considerations of the public finances in the years ahead.


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