Ireland set to miss EU targets for 20% cut in emissions by 2020, according to EPA

Agency notes that emissions likely to remain static over next six years

The EPA also warned that, for the following decade to 2030, emissions are projected to be 11 per cent higher again than in 2020. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

The EPA also warned that, for the following decade to 2030, emissions are projected to be 11 per cent higher again than in 2020. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Ireland is now unlikely to meet EU targets for a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from agriculture, transport and the built environment, according to the latest report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The agency said that, even under the “best case scenario”, emissions would remain relatively static over the next six years. As a result, they would be 5 to 12 per cent below 2005 levels and “will not meet the 20 per cent reduction target”.

“Today’s figures show that we are . . . not on track to becoming a low-carbon economy, ” said EPA director-general Laura Burke. She warned that this would become “an even more pressing challenge as the economy begins to improve”.

Even under optimistic projections, emissions from agriculture and transport would rise by 15 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, assuming that there will be more use of renewable energy and more food production.

Ms Burke said the move towards a low-carbon economy would require “behavioural change” as well as rapid decarbonisation of energy and transport and the adoption of sustainable systems.

Rising emissions The EPA also warned that, for the following decade to 2030, emissions are projected to be 11 per cent higher again than in 2020 “if further policies and measures are not in place to curb the growth in carbon intensity” (energy use related to GDP).

Dr Eimear Cotter, a senior manager at the agency, said: “We need to translate our national commitment to a low-carbon future into action on the ground if we are to deliver the required emission reductions” – with “wide benefits” for business and farmers.

But ICMSA president John Comer said food production in Ireland was “proportionally much less environmentally damaging than in almost any other EU member state”.