State not likely to reach EU emissions target by 2020 - report

EPA review finds Irish greenhouse gas emissions decreased in 2014

The State decreased its greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, according to a new report. File photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

The State decreased its greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, according to a new report. File photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

 

The State decreased its greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, according to a new report, but the prospect of reaching EU emissions requirements for 2020 remain remote.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released provisional emissions figures for the period 1990 to 2014, and while significant improvements were noted in some economic sectors last year, others have proven more problematic.

Emissions from agriculture decreased marginally last year, but still account for one-third of overall emissions.

Transport emissions increased for a second consecutive year in 2014, a trend which has been attributed to the larger proportion of diesel cars on the roads and an increase in commercial vehicles last year.

Figures for the industry and commercial services sector have also risen in line with recent economic growth.

The report said that year-on-year increases in emissions from the cement sector underline the environmental impact of the economic recovery.

Another notable change in 2014 was the 10.4 per cent decrease in emissions within the residential sector.

This came about mostly due to last year’s mild winter, which negated the impact of domestic fuel use.

Renewable sources

The report also shows that renewable sources generated 23 per cent of the country’s electricity last year, compared with 20 per cent in 2013.

Commenting on the findings, EPA director general Laura Burke said a “significant effort” will be required over the coming years to continue the downward trend.

“It is clear that economic recovery is influencing our greenhouse gas emissions, and we cannot rely on the luck of a mild winter to ensure compliance.

“We must implement appropriate measures across all of society and the economy to break the link between prosperity and pollution,” she said.

Ms Burke also spoke of the importance of taking action following the recent climate agreement in Paris.

The State emitted greenhouse gases equivalent to 58.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide last year, which represents a 0.7 per cent decline compared to 2013.

Emissions have reduced in eight of the last nine years.