Significant gap to hitting 2030 targets, EPA

Published by Niall Sargent on

June 6th, 2019

Ireland faces significant challenges in meeting its 2030 European emissions targets, the latest EPA data reveals.

The latest projections highlight a significant gap in meeting Ireland’s EU Effort Sharing targets for 2020 and 2030.

Sectors included in this area are agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, waste, and non-energy intensive industry.

Ireland’s 2030 target requires a combined reduction in emissions from these sectors of 30 per cent from 2005 levels.

The latest projections indicate that we will exceed our carbon budget over the period 2021-2030 by between 52 – 67 Mt CO2 eq.

This gap may potentially narrow to between seven and 22 Mt CO2 eq if new flexibilities from the likes of increased forestry cover are fully utilised.

The key blockages to hitting targets, the EPA states, are agriculture emissions that are projected to increase with an expansion of animal numbers, together with growth in transport emissions.

The use of fossil fuels such as coal, peat and gas will continue to be key contributors to emissions from the power generation sector, the agency said.

Commenting on the figures, the Director General of the EPA, Laura Burke said that the projected decrease in emissions as a result of climate mitigation policies and measures will need to be supplemented with “additional measures in future plans”.

Photo: Jonathan Petersson

Key emissions sectors

Emissions from agriculture, the EPA said, are projected to increase steadily up over the coming decades mainly due to increases in the dairy herd. Agri-emissions are estimated to increase by three percent between 2018 and 2030, reaching just over 20 Mt CO2 eq in 2030.

Agriculture emission projections are based on data from Teagasc which were provided to the Environmental Protection Agency in April 2018.

Implementation of potential emissions mitigation measures identified by Teagasc research, but not included in the projections will be important for the sector, the agency added.

Growth in emissions from the transport sector continues to be projected until at least 2022, even with relatively high fuel prices and electric vehicle uptake as proposed. Emissions from the sector are estimated to decrease by only one per cent between 2018 and 2030, where emissions will be almost 12 Mt CO2 eq.

The EPA added that should fuel prices remain at a relatively low level for an extended time then transport emissions could continue to increase steadily until 2030.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London