Ireland is falling further behind other European countries on decarbonisation

Irish face severe challenges over rising emissions – European Commission report

With Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google committed to source 100 per cent of their energy from renewable sources, the Commission notes Ireland’s lack of progress may also be ‘raising concerns for some key multinational companies’. Photograph: Getty Images

With Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google committed to source 100 per cent of their energy from renewable sources, the Commission notes Ireland’s lack of progress may also be ‘raising concerns for some key multinational companies’. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The scale of the task facing Ireland in reducing carbon emissions has been underlined by the European Commission in its latest evaluation of the State’s climate action plans.

Current performance falls far short of the level of ambition required to put Ireland on a path to achieve its 2030 targets, it concludes.

The Commission’s 2019 Country Report for Ireland states it is “falling further behind” other EU countries in decarbonising the economy, and raising “health, climate and environmental concerns”.

The report points to “severe challenges” in tackling rising emissions in transport, agriculture, energy and the built environment.

Policy objectives outlined in the National Mitigation Plan, the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan do not go far enough to tackle growing emissions, it states, while the draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) released in December “does not clarify investment needs until 2030”, it concludes.

Without further action now, compliance with EU commitments will become “increasingly challenging and could become costly”, the report warns, as Ireland will need to purchase carbon credits “on a large scale during 2021-2030”.

With Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google committed to source 100 per cent of their energy from renewable sources, the Commission notes Ireland’s lack of progress may also be “raising concerns for some key multinational companies”.

It points to a failure in Ireland to exploit the potential of taxes to support environmental objectives in a “socially fair manner”. While revenue from environmental taxes is above the EU average, fossil fuel subsidies remain “significant and have in fact been rising over the past decade”.

The proposed increase in the carbon tax in Budget 2019 would have been an “important and much-needed signal to economic agents”, it says.

Ireland’s continued dependence on car usage is putting pressure on transport infrastructure, resulting in “higher commuting times and increased CO2 emissions”. Greater investment is required in public transport, it adds, including the use of cleaner fuels and electrification.