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Ireland way off its EU greenhouse gas emissions targets

Ireland is showing little sign of meeting its 2020 emissions targets, according to a damning new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The worrying report predicts that Ireland will miss its EU greenhouse gas emissions targets, and by a considerable margin too.

According to the report, the levels of greenhouse gases emitted by Ireland’s agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, industrial and waste sectors are running far too high.

The EPA estimates that the reduction of emissions between 2005 and 2020, which was planned to be 20pc, could be as low as 4pc.

A much more alarming element of the report is its forecasted increase over the following decade that will see a 3.5pc rise in emissions by 2030.

While waste, in particular, will see emissions plummet by as much as 43.5pc in the 2005-2030 period, stark rises in industrial and manufacturing emissions all contribute to an unsettling increase.

“The EPA’s latest greenhouse gas projections are a disappointing indicator that the current range of policy measures to reduce emissions and to meet compliance obligations are failing in an improving economy,” said Laura Burke, director general of the EPA.

Another cause for concern is the likelihood that the recession period actually aided the reduction in emissions as construction stalled, car sales froze and industry dried up.

Today’s improving economy and a surge in emissions, suggests that structurally, not enough was done in the past.

Burke claims that new planning is required if the country is to reduce carbon emissions by 80pc between 1990-2050.

Any new measures “need to be innovative and effective to get Ireland’s emissions back on a sustainable trajectory”, she said.

“This will take planning, investment and time, but can be achieved in the overall framework of national, EU and global commitments.”

Commenting on the release of the updated projections, Minister Naughten noted:

“The release of EPA’s revised projections of greenhouse gas emissions paints a stark picture of the challenge facing Ireland to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The projections indicate a deteriorating position in respect of achievement of Ireland’s target for 2020 when compared with the previous EPA projections. Though not unexpected, given the welcome return to economic growth in Ireland, it nevertheless serves to further reinforce the difficult decisions ahead of us as we try to further reduce our emissions out to 2030. The lack of progress to 2020 partly reflects our reduced investment capacity over the period of the economic downturn and I argue the 2020 target itself was not consistent with what was achievable on an EU wide cost-effective basis.”

A lot of hard work and planning is required to ensure that Ireland is well-positioned to take the necessary actions in the next and future decades

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