Change of policy required to hit carbon targets


GOVERNMENT POLICIES will have to change if Ireland is to meet the target of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, a new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute says.

The Government has committed to achieving a 20 per cent reduction in non-traded carbon emissions compared with 2005 but the report predicts they could rise as much as 5 per cent by 2020.

The Environment Review 2012 report by environmental economist John Curtis says Ireland is expected to comply with its Kyoto Protocol target covering the 2008-2012 period, “but compliance with longer-term targets will be much more difficult”.

It calls for a new action plan that would include the options and scope for buying offsetting allowances. Waste generation has been falling for years and the downward trend in household waste generation is expected to continue until 2015. However, the report predicts a significant increase after that. While that sounds like bad news, the reasons for the increase are good news.

“With economic recovery, increased employment, as well as projected growth in the population, we anticipate waste generation to be substantially higher in the future than today,” it says.

“By 2030 we project that municipal waste generation will be 33 per cent or roughly 0.9 million tonnes higher than current levels; and 24 per cent higher for household waste.”

Mr Curtis says regional waste-management plans, which are under review, will need to reflect this anticipated growth in waste.

The Government’s plan for agriculture – Food Harvest 2020 – should be reassessed for its impact on greenhouse gas emissions and its potential to affect water quality, he adds.