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Irish Greenhouse Gas Emissions To Decrease By 3%

Targeted climate and environmental actions needed for long term improvement says EPA.

  • Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas emissions, with full implementation of the Climate Action Plan, are projected to decrease by an annual average reduction of 3% between 2021 and 2030.
  • Even further measures are required to meet national and EU ambition to keep global temperature increase to 1.5oC.
  • Short term emission reductions due to Covid 19 do not negate the need for long term, targeted action across all sectors.
  • Ireland will rely on maximising the use of land – for example grasslands, wetlands and forestry to meet targets.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its Greenhouse Gas emissions projections for the period 2019-2040. They show Ireland can meet our current EU target to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 30% by 2030. This would require full implementation of the measures in the 2019 Climate Action Plan and would result in 3% average annual emissions reductions from 2021 to 2030.

Commenting on the figures Ms Laura Burke, (Director General, EPA) stated: “These latest projections demonstrate that if we implement the actions that are planned, and if all sectors get behind these, then we can reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This is only the first step however, and – for Ireland to become the low carbon and climate resilient society and economy that we aspire to – systemic change is required.”

Ms Burke added: “We are now at a pivotal point for our economy and the steps we take in our recovery will shape Ireland for the next decade. Focusing on climate action as part of a ‘green’ recovery stimulus offers the opportunity to rebuild our economy, generate new jobs and respond to climate change.

What Covid-19 has taught us is, that while the dramatic decline in economic activity and travel may have resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gases in the short term, long term improvements can only be achieved with targeted climate and environmental actions that change consumption and production systems in a sustainable and lasting manner.”

The EPA projections show significant emission reductions across transport, the energy sector and households with emissions from agriculture also projected to decrease. These emission reductions are to be achieved through a range of actions, committed to in the Climate Action Plan. These measures overall are projected to contribute to emissions savings of 79 Mt CO2 eq. by 2030. They include:

Agriculture
A reduction of at least 16.5 Mt CO2 eq. between 2021 and 2030, by implementing the measures such as low emissions slurry spreading techniques and switching to stabilised urea fertilisers for crops and pasture.

Transport
Almost 1 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2030, including 840,000 passenger EVs and 95,000 electric vans and trucks, will help achieve a projected decrease in emissions from the sector of 38% over the period to 2030.

Energy
70% renewable energy in electricity generation; the installation of 600,000 heat pumps and the retrofitting of 500,000 homes for improved energy efficiency to deliver, by 2030, a projected 34% reduction in Energy Industries emissions, a 53% reduction in Residential emissions and a 36% reduction in Commercial & Public services emissions.

Increased ambition at national and EU level to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5oC will, however, necessitate a further step-up, additional to the Climate Action Plan, in the pace and scale of emission reductions.

In addition, achievement of a low carbon pathway for Ireland and meeting future targets relies on maximising the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through improved land management, of, for example, forestry, grasslands and wetlands.

Commenting, Mr Stephen Treacy, (Senior Manager, EPA) stated: “Appropriate land management is a vital part of action on climate change, not just in Ireland but also across Europe and globally. Where land management is providing a store of carbon, this should be maintained or enhanced. Where land management is resulting in emissions of CO2, this source should be reduced or eliminated, and where land is degraded or has lost its ability to absorb or store carbon dioxide, it should be restored.”

The Covid-19 lockdown and dramatic decline in economic activity and travel will translate into emissions reductions in the short term. Early indications are that transport and electricity demand has declined since the beginning of the lockdown with diesel sales down over 20% in the year to end May, and petrol sales down over 30%. The impact of Covid-19 is not included in today’s figures and will be incorporated in the next round of projections.

See full detail on the Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2019 to 2040 in the EPA report on their website, and the EPA Green House Gas web resource.

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Ireland’s Ammonia Emissions Continue To Rise, Exceeding EU Limit

Ammonia emissions increased again in 2018, driven by the expansion of the agriculture sector, and exceed current EU emissions limits.

River Suir, Thurles, Co. Tipperary


Ireland is also above its emission limit for Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) since 2010, although emissions decreased slightly in 2018.

Emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and particulate matter (PM2.5) showed marginal changes, while emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) continued a downward trend.
Full implementation of the Climate Action Plan will deliver co-benefits in terms of reducing air pollutants, but even further action is required to meet more stringent 2030 EU emission limits.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published figures for emissions of five key air pollutants which impact air quality, health and the environment. The pollutants are: ammonia, non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

This latest information shows that ammonia emissions have increased each year from 2016 to 2018. Agriculture dominates emissions of ammonia (99%), which arise from animal manures and nitrogen fertiliser. While the rate of increase has slowed over these years, Ireland is non-compliant with binding EU limits for ammonia over the period.

Emissions of nitrogen oxides – primarily from transport and diesel fuelled vehicles in particular – decreased slightly in 2018, while still being above its 2010-2019 emission limit.

Emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds decreased slightly in 2018. These mostly arise from spirit production in the food and beverage industry, animal manures and fertilisers.

There was a small increase in emissions of particulate matter, while emissions of sulphur dioxide continued on a downward trend.

Dr Eimear Cotter (Director of Office of Environmental Sustainability) said:

“Emissions of all air pollutants need to reduce to protect air quality and health. These figures show different trends in emissions of air pollutants with ammonia emissions increasing and releases of other pollutants remaining relatively unchanged or decreasing. Ammonia emissions need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The underlying drivers are the use of animal manure and nitrogen fertilisers which can be reduced through widespread adoption of on-farm measures.”

Lower EU limits will come into effect in 2030. Sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and NOx emissions are projected to reduce and to be compliant, provided planned measures; particularly in relation to the Climate Action Plan, are implemented. This depends on switching to cleaner fuels, technology improvements and a significant uptake of electric vehicles.

While full implementation of the 2019 Climate Action Plan can deliver a double benefit in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, even further measures are required to reduce NH3 and NMVOC emissions to meet future tight limits in 2030.

Stephen Treacy (EPA Senior Manager) said:

“The National Clean Air Strategy, which is currently under preparation, will need to propose measures to reduce air pollutant emissions, particularly where non-compliance with the 2030 limits is projected.
The transport sector continues to be a significant source of nitrogen oxide emissions as a result of growth in the fleet of cars, vans and trucks. It is important that planned measures are implemented to reduce these emissions and decouple them from economic growth, particularly as we exit current COVID-19 related travel restrictions.”

These figures do not include the impact of COVID-19. It is expected that the drop off in economic activity and travel, will translate into reductions in some air pollutants; particularly nitrogen oxides, which will be evident in projections to 2030 published next year.

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“Do Not Consume” Water Notice Issued For West Tipperary Border

Yesterday, May 9th 2020, Irish Water (Uisce Éireann) issued a “Do not consume notice” to several hundred customers, latter supplied by the Carrigmore Water Scheme; after elevated nitrate levels were discovered affecting homes on the Limerick/Tipperary border.

High levels of nitrate in ground water usually indicates an overuse of chemical fertilizers, or improper disposal of human or animal waste. Nitrate, however, can occur naturally in surface and groundwater, but at a level that does not generally cause health problems.

So what caused this problem? Irish Water refuses to comment.

A similar notice, from Irish Water, was issued with regard to Templetuohy village, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, in late January of 2020. Some 3.5 months later this notice appears to remain in place.

Currently it takes, on average, 27 minutes to make phone contact with staff in Irish Water, before being told “We don’t know”. Irish Water refuses to interpret; convey or chastise, publicly or privately, those responsible for “Dirty Farming Practises” mostly causing such high levels of nitrate in our drinking water.

We do understand bottled water has been delivered to those people impacted by the problem, but possibly only to those families with infants, as is usual according to an Irish Water official with whom we spoke.

Irish Water state it is O.K. to wash our bodies, clothing and cooking utensils in water contaminated by human and animal defecation.

At a time when HSE guidance on handwashing is considered totally essential; Irish Water stated yesterday that it was imperative that drinking water from this named water scheme supply is not consumed by infants. They also stated that same water could continue to be used for personal hygiene, flushing of toilets, for laundry and the washing of household utensils.

Note: Boiling such water in this case does not make the slightest difference in terms of reducing nitrate levels and therefore any affected water boiled, will continues to remain unsuitable for human consumption.

Could this be yet another pandemic waiting to destroy our very existence?

Remember our food sources do not have access to bottled water.

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Taoiseach Supports Lowry Request Re. Payments For Beef Farmers

Following a call from Tipperary Independent TD Michael Lowry to bring forward direct payments to beef farmers in light of the current crisis; An Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar says that the Deputy’s request ‘makes sense’.

Deputy Lowry informed the weekly Dail sitting that concerns about the beef sector are mounting and cash flow remains a serious concern for farmers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Deputy Lowry suggested to An Taoiseach that EU direct payments, which are due to be made in October, should be brought forward to July to help alleviate at least some of that financial pressure.

“Prices have slumped. Cash-flow is now a major issue for beef farmers both in Tipperary and around the country. Could your Government commit to bringing forward direct payments to beef farmers from October to July this year?” asked Deputy Lowry.

In response, An Taoiseach stated, “They are EU funds. The farmers would be getting them anyway so it might make sense to bring it forward. It’s not money they wouldn’t be getting anyway, but it might at least help with cash-flow.”

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Lowry Highlights Need For Funding For Farm Safety Schemes

Tipperary Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry pictured here with Mrs Imelda Walsh (Chairperson North Tipperary IFA) and Mr Michael Kennedy (Vice Chairperson North Tipperary IFA)

There are many issues facing farmers at this time. The need to minimise the impact of CAP Reform; the fight to get fair pricing for farm produce; calls to stop the exporting of live animals and farmers being asked to set aside land for forestry; just a few of the problems that farmers have raised consistently throughout this Election Campaign.

Deputy Lowry has consistently worked for a better deal for farmers and promoted a greater understanding of the challenges being faced by rural Ireland.

The vital issue of ‘Farm Safety’ is one that has not received sufficient attention in the media throughout the Campaign, but is one that Deputy Lowry is determined to make a priority if re-elected. He is fully supportive of the IFA’s call to have a Farm Safety Scheme introduced, under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) with increased funding for health and safety equipment.

Farm safety should be a priority on every farm, just as it is in every other business. A typical family farming situation now involves part-time farming with the day-time herding attended to by a senior farmer, left to handle large suckler-bred cattle. There have been over 207 deaths in Agriculture and Forestry over the last 10 years, (2009-2018) and in just 2019 alone a further 18 persons can be added to this earlier total.

One of the greatest risks to farmers is the often very solitary nature of their work. Regardless of age, farmers for the most part work alone and are often isolated from other people. There are multiple dangers ranging from using unprotected Power Take-Off (PTO) shafts; slurry agitation in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas; livestock handling; loose clothing becoming caught in farm machines, and attempts made to correct problems with farm machinery and equipment without the proper tools and training to avoid delaying necessary work.

Some of the farm safety measures proposed under the Farm Safety Scheme are installing yard lighting, cattle and sheep handling facilities (mobile and fixed), replacing hinged (swinging) doors with sliding or roller doors, retro-fitting of safety rails on silo walls and re-wiring existing farm buildings.

Deputy Lowry says that while the major issues raised during the Election Campaign are of huge importance to the future of farming in Tipperary and throughout Ireland, action must be taken to ensure that famers are safe in their place of work. “A properly funded Farm Safety Scheme is a matter of urgency”, says Deputy Lowry.

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