The fight against climate change is both the greatest threat currently facing humanity and our clearest signal that capitalism is at the root of our problems.
For decades, mainstream politicians and the owners of corporations have understood the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions, but their addiction to profit has meant that they have continued to pollute the planet, regardless of the consequences.
The Irish elites have likewise been laggards in the fight against climate change, putting economic growth for a tiny minority ahead of all other calculations.
This manifesto aims to end this sorry record through a series of policy proposals that would slow down the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions without burdening working people.
In the key areas of transport, energy generation and residential energy use, we put forward ideas that will surpass the targets set by the International Panel on Climate Change whilst actually making life better for the majority of people through cheaper utility bills and transport costs. We also offer a pathway for small and medium-sized farmers who are rightly concerned about the decline of rural Ireland.
These measures still don’t go far enough, but they are the start of a just and eco-socialist transition that uses state resources to support people in reducing their emissions, rather than taxing them relentlessly.
Globally, the climate movement will have to challenge the logic of profit if it is to be successful, and yet there are things that can, and must, be done to reduce emissions and slow down the damage immediately.
People Before Profit have been in the front line of the fight for climate justice since it was founded in the early part of the century, and we aim to continue this proud record over the coming weeks, months and years.
How would we pay for this?
In our Alternative Budget 2020, People Before Profit showed how it is possible to raise an extra €20 billion in revenue annually through a combination of:
Closing corporation tax loopholes;
Increasing taxes on those earning more than €100,000;
Initiating a wealth tax of 2% on any household with more than €3.4 million in assets (less €1 million for a family home);
Targeted measures on bank profits, the profits of IFSC firms and the pharmaceutical industry;
Targeted measures on the major polluting corporations in agriculture, aviation and energy generation.
This allowed us to allocate €6 billion to a number of the climate initiatives laid out in this document, leaving a balance of €1.1 billion. This would be raised by redirecting the €4 billion in current annual subsidies to polluting industries away from them and into a climate fund.
In this process, we are keenly aware of the need for a Just Transition, so we would also ring-fence the remaining €2.9 billion to make sure low and middle-income workers and farmers continue to benefit from subsidies that are not linked to carbon emissions.
A proud record on climate action
This publication lays out a number of crucial initiatives that must be taken immediately, but it is important to note that, since its formation, People Before Profit also has a proud record on climate action and climate justice. Below, we lay out some of the initiatives we have been involved in.