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EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections Highlight Need For Urgent Implementation Of Climate Plans.

EPA Projections data indicate that:

  • Total greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to have increased by 6% in 2021.
  • Planned policies and measures, if fully implemented, could deliver up to 28% (4% per annum) emissions reduction up to 2030.
  • Ireland can comply with its 2030 EU emissions reduction target only if all planned measures are implemented and delivered as planned.
  • The data projects that all sectors need to do significantly more to meet their 2030 National emissions reduction targets.
  • The challenge is particularly evident in the agriculture sector. Methane emissions will need to reduce by up to 30% to meet the lower range of its 2021 Climate Action Plan target.
  • Urgent implementation of all climate plans and policies, plus further new measures, are needed for Ireland to meet the 51% emissions reduction target and put Ireland on track for climate neutrality by 2050.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its Greenhouse Gas emissions projections for the period 20212040.

The data shows that planned Climate policies and measures, if fully implemented, could deliver up to 28% (4 per cent per annum) emissions reduction up to 2030. As such Ireland could comply with its 2030 EU emissions reduction target only if all committed measures are implemented and delivered as planned and with full use of the permitted flexibilities.
Urgent implementation of all climate plans and polices, plus further new measures, are needed for Ireland to meet the 51% emissions reduction target and put Ireland on track for climate neutrality by 2050.

Speaking today at the EPA’s Climate Change Conference in Croke Park, Ms Laura Burke, (Director General, EPA) said: “These projections show the scale of policy development and implementation needed to match the ambition of our Climate Act 2021 and Carbon Budget targets. There is a significant gap between the ambition in the Climate Act and the realisation of the necessary actions to deliver on that ambition”.
Ms Burke added:
“The data shows that a step up in both the implementation of actions already set out in plans and policies and the identification of new measures is needed. All sectors have work to do, in particular the Agriculture sector. As the largest contributor of National emissions, more clarity is needed on how and when it will implement actions to reduce methane within the ever-shortening timeframe to 2030”.

The projections indicate that we have returned to pre-pandemic levels of activity, particularly in the transport sector, with associated levels of emissions. This return is likely to be exacerbated by a return to higher levels of coal used in electricity generation to meet growing national energy demand and current geopolitical impacts on energy.
Total greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to have increased by 6% in 2021. It is projected that the impact of reduction measures will result in emissions decreasing from 2023 onwards. The impact of measures on a sectoral basis include:

Agriculture
Under the with existing measures scenario emissions are projected to increase by 1.9% over the 2020-2030 period. A methane emissions reduction of almost 30% is required to achieve a 22% reduction in Agriculture emissions compared to 2018, as committed to in the 2021 Climate Action Plan. The sector must clearly set out how this will be achieved to address uncertainty regarding its ability to deliver even the lower end of the range of its sectoral targets within the ever-shortening time-frame to 2030.

Transport
The end of COVID travel restrictions is projected to result in transport emissions increasing by 18-19 per cent from 2020 to 2022. Emissions from the sector are projected to reduce to 39 per cent below 2018 levels by 2030 if the additional measures set out in plans and policies are implemented. These include over 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, increased biofuel blend rates and measures to support more sustainable transport.

Energy
Increased coal use from 2021, as a result of unavailability of sufficient gas-fired generation to meet growing energy demand, followed by changes in relative fuel price threatens to undo some of the good work done over recent years and negatively impact achievement of National targets, particularly for the first carbon budget period. Despite this, increased renewable energy generation, if delivered as planned, can reduce Energy Industry emissions by 10% per annum from 2021-30, achieving up to 78% renewable electricity generation by 2030.

Home Heating
Spending more time at home due to home/office hybrid working and the increasing cost of fossil fuels has highlighted a need for improvements in home heating efficiency and better insulation. Current implemented policies and measures can only deliver a 24% reduction in emissions from this sector by 2030. This highlights the need for implementation of the additional policies and measures such as those in the Climate Action Plan, which include the installation of 680,000 heat-pumps by 2030 as well as retrofitting 500,000 homes. These are projected to achieve a 41.5% reduction in residential emissions in 2030 compared to 2018.

Commenting, Mr Stephen Treacy, (Senior Manager, EPA) said: “The message from the authors of the recent IPCC report on climate mitigation was clear – it’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible. In Ireland, implementation of measures has consistently lagged far behind planning. It is important that all planned actions are implemented as soon as possible while, in parallel, identifying actions to address the remaining gap to meet carbon budget limits”.
See full detail on the Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2021 to 2040 HERE and EPA Greenhouse Gas web resource on the EPA website HERE.

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