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EPA says Ireland greenhouse gas emissions to fall by 3% per year until 2030 (once government targets are met)

This projection, however, entirely depends on the Climate Action Plan 2019 being implemented in full.

Image: Shutterstock/buffaloboy

IRELAND CAN MEET its EU target to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 30% by 2030, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In its Greenhouse Gas emissions projections for the period 2019-2040, published today, the EPA said that though this 30% reduction is possible, this would require a full implementation of the Climate Action Plan 2019 and would result in 3% average annual emissions reductions from 2021 to 2030.

The EPA’s projections show significant emission reductions across transport, the energy sector and households, with emissions from agriculture also projected to decrease.

Graphs WEM: With Existing Measures; WAM: With Additional Measures. Source: EPA

It also stated that though the Covid-19 lockdown and dramatic decline in economic activity and a cessation of the air-travel industry will result in emissions reductions in the short term, the impact of Covid-19 is not included in today’s figures and will instead be incorporated in the next round of projections.

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%. 

graph bar char Source: EPA

 These measures overall are projected to contribute to emissions savings of 79 Mt CO2 eq. by 2030. Measures in the Climate Action Plan 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 a projected 34% reduction in Energy Industries emissions by 2030, a 53% reduction in residential emissions and a 36% reduction in commercial and public services emissions.

Graph circle Source: EPA

The EPA added that an EU aim to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5oC will require additional measures not included in the Climate Action Plan, however.

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Senior EPA Manager Stephen Treacy said that appropriate land management is a vital part of action on climate change.

“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.”

Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said that Ireland was at “a pivotal point”: 

“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.”

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