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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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