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EPA- Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections for 2021 – 2040

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Ireland

On 01 June 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published it's Greenhouse Gas emissions projections for 2021 – 2040 at it's Climate Change Conference in Croke Park.

The EPA publishes national greenhouse gas emission projections on an annual basis, these projections are required in order to meet EU reporting obligations. Such projections are an estimate of what emission levels are likely to be in the future and are based on a number of factors such as economic growth, fuel prices and government policy.

The most recent set of projections illustrate that the pre pandemic levels of activity have resumed, most notably in the transport sector. The EPA noted that the return to these levels of activity is also agitated by an increase in the use of fossil fuels used in the generation of electricity in order to meet the growing national energy demand and the current geopolitical impacts on energy.

Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland commented “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.”

The EPA has identified that in order for Ireland to meet it's 51% emissions reduction target for 2030, all climate plans and policies must be implemented urgently. Ms Burke singled out the agriculture sector noting that "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." Ms Burke noted that it is now time for the sector to "transform".

EPA Projections data illustrate that:
  • Estimated total greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 6 per cent in 2021;
  • If fully implemented, planned policies and measures could deliver up to 28 per cent (4 per cent per annum) emissions reduction up to 2030;
  • If all planned measures are implemented and delivered as planned Ireland can comply with its 2030 EU emissions reduction target;
  • All sectors need to do significantly more to meet their 2030 National emissions reduction targets;
  • The agriculture sector faces the most significant challenge and methane emissions will need to reduce by up to 30 per cent in order to achieve 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 per cent emissions reduction target and put Ireland on track for climate neutrality by 2050.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan welcomed the publication of the report and noted that Ireland needs to "double down" on the measures outlined in the Climate Action Plan. Minister Ryan intends to bring recommendations before Cabinet that will require a collaborative effort by a range of sectors including government, business, communities and individuals in an attempt to combat rising emissions. The Department of Transport recently published the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy 2022-2055, noting that "innovation" is at the heart of the effort to decarbonise private transport and that €1bn of the National Development Plan is dedicated to assist the transport sector.

It is evident from the published projections that Ireland has a huge transition ahead in order to meet it's emissions targets in the future however, Minister Ryan noted that "too often people overestimate what we can do in a year but underestimate what we can do in a decade".

The full EPA report can be viewed here.

Written by: Ciara Cornyn and Patrick Reilly


 

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