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Agriculture, Building, Transport: Here's how sectors are expected to cut emissions by 2030

The agriculture sector has been targeted with the lowest change – a 22% to 30% reduction in emissions.

File photo of cars in a traffic jam
File photo of cars in a traffic jam
Image: Shutterstock/ddisq

THE GOVERNMENT HAS published its long-awaited revised Climate Action Plan, setting out how it intends to meet tight climate targets over the next nine years.

The plan proposes how much each sector of society must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Many of the targets are the same as the ones that were set out in the original Climate Action Plan in 2019.

Let’s take a look at how much various sectors must reduce their emissions – and how this is expected to be achieved – by the end of this decade.

Agriculture

The agriculture sector, which is responsible for the most greenhouse gases, has been targeted with the lowest change – a 22% to 30% reduction in emissions by 2030.

The plan states: “Farmers know the land better than anyone. We will empower farmers with a science-based approach, backed by robust research. Farm practices that enable farmers to produce world-class food with a lower carbon footprint are key.

“The plan commits to using less chemical nitrogen and more targeted use of fertiliser, while maintaining the same level of grass growth through multi-species swards.

“Other measures include improving the genetics of our herds to reduce emissions and improve productivity. We will also incentivise increased organic farming and diversification into forestry, biomethane and energy production.”

The government has committed to a number of measures including the following:

  • Undertake a programme of work to refine the potential and to set targets/pathways for measures to deliver further emissions reductions
  • Carry out a diversification review based on Land Use Review findings
  • Enable a carbon farming framework by the end of 2023 in line with EU activity
  • Explore the potential for methane reducing feed additives for pasture-based solutions

Transport

Transport must cut its emissions by 42% to 50% by 2030.

The government has committed to a number of measures including the following:

  • Provide for an additional 500,000 daily public transport and active travel journeys
  • Increase the fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) and low emitting vehicles (LEVs) on the road to 945,000 – comprising of 845,000 electric passenger cars; 95,000 electric vans; 3,500 low emitting trucks; 1,500 electric buses and an expanded electrified rail network
  • Raise the blend proportion of biofuels to B20 in diesel and E10 in petrol

Electricity

Electricity must cut its emissions by 62 to 81% by 2030.

The document notes: “Among the most important measures in the plan is to increase the proportion of renewable electricity to up to 80% by 2030, including an increased target of up to 5 Gigawatts of offshore wind energy.

“This will not just reduce our emissions from electricity, it will allow us to electrify other sectors such as transport and heat and reduce our emissions in these sectors too.

“In addition to the upcoming microgeneration support scheme for householders the government will introduce a small-scale generator scheme for farmers, business, and communities to generate their own electricity and feed into the grid.

“As well as developing improved storage, we will also begin to deploy renewable gas such as biomethane and green hydrogen. The government will review its strategy on data centres to ensure that the sector will be in alignment with sectoral emissions ceilings and support renewable energy targets.”

Enterprise

Enterprise must cut its emissions by 29 to 41% by 2030.

The plan states that enterprise “will be required to implement a detailed agenda of transition and change if it is to ensure that our sectors are climate resilient and can remain competitive in a decarbonising world”.

These measures include the following:

  • Improving the energy efficiency of processes, buildings and transport
  • Replacing fossil fuels with renewables in their processes, buildings and transport
  • Improving the way in which resources are used in their supply chain to reduce emissions and conform to circular economy principles
  • Being innovative across production, distribution, and marketing to realise the opportunities arising
  • Developing new skills and techniques as necessary
  • Developing metrics on the climate and environmental impact of activities, which will become more widely expected in the marketplace

Building

Emissions related to buildings must be cut by 29 to 41% by 2030.

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The plan states that the government has already committed to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030 and will install 680,000 renewable energy heat sources in both new and existing residential buildings.

The document adds: “We recognise that we will need to work out ways to assist broader society with the costs of retrofitting. The new National Retrofit Plan will drive demand, make retrofitting more affordable, and expand the capacity of the industry including training of workers.

“A further 3 specialist training centres will be established. Other measures include increased targets for district heating and the public sector and strengthening building standards for all buildings.”

Public sector

The document states that the public sector “will lead by example in this transition by reducing emissions by 51% by 2030.

This will be done via the following measures:

  • Mandating public sector employers, colleges and other public sector bodies to move to 20% home and remote working
  • Introducing a sustainable mobility policy, by replacing all buses with electric vehicles by 2035 and by tripling the length of electrified rail by 2030

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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