Whenever some specific use of fossil fuels is explicitly subsidised, for example where the retail price of petrol is brought below the ex-refinery price, there will be accusations that the Government is not serious about reducing emissions. This actually happens in some oil-producing countries where petrol is too cheap, although not in this part of the world – the EU has rules about minimum rates of tax.

More common is a situation where favoured forms of fossil fuel consumption are charged to tax at a reduced rate, and it is worthwhile to monitor and question this practice. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) publishes a report annually which seeks to measure the cost of these favourable deals and the latest edition has just been released.