Ireland set to miss its EU greenhouse gas emission reduction targets – EPA
05 April 2016
Figures released in a March 2016 update on greenhouse gas emission projections to 2020 by the Environmental Protection Agency show that Ireland is unlikely to meet its 2020 EU greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and cast doubts over efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy in the long term.
Ireland’s EU target for 2020 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the non-Emissions Trading Scheme (non-ETS) sector by 20 per cent on 2005 levels. The non-ETS sector covers emissions from agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, non-energy intensive industry and waste sectors.
The March update published by the EPA outlined:
- Ireland is unlikely to meet 2020 EU greenhouse gas emission targets for sectors including agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, non-energy intensive industry and waste;
- Ireland’s emission reduction target is 20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020: EPA projections indicate that emissions will be 6-11 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020;
- Agriculture and transport are projected to account for over three-quarters of Ireland’s non-Emissions Trading Scheme emissions in 2020: agriculture (47 per cent), transport (29 per cent);
- Current and planned policies and measures are not sufficient to meet the 2020 targets.
While there is overachievement of annual obligations in the early years of the compliance period (2013-2020), this will not be sufficient to allow Ireland to cumulatively meet its compliance obligations. Ireland is expected to breach annual obligation targets in 2016 or 2017, depending on the level of implementation of emission reduction policies and measures.
Full implementation of policies and measures out to 2020, including current targets for energy efficiency in our homes and businesses and increasing renewable fuel use in transport and heating, is considered not sufficient to meet 2020 emission reduction targets. Projected increased emissions from the agriculture sector (impacted by the Food Wise 2025 Strategy), and growing transport sector emissions, dominate the projected emissions trend.
For the period 2014-2020, agriculture emissions are projected to increase by 6-7 per cent. Transport emissions are projected to show strong growth over the period to 2020 with a 10-16 per cent increase on 2014 levels.
New obligations for Ireland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the years 2021-2030 are being negotiated at EU level in 2016. The further away Ireland is from the 20 per cent reduction target in 2020, the more difficult the compliance challenges in the following decade are likely to become.
The updated EPA bulletin is available onhttp://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/airemissions/2020_GHG_Projections_2016_Bulletin.pdf