Wednesday 24 May 2017

Emissions rising as traffic back at boom-time levels

Transport emissions are on the rise as congestion clogs the country’s busiest roads and traffic returns to boom-time levels. Stock Image
Transport emissions are on the rise as congestion clogs the country’s busiest roads and traffic returns to boom-time levels. Stock Image
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Transport emissions are on the rise as congestion clogs the country's busiest roads and traffic returns to boom-time levels.

New figures from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) show that emissions from cars, trucks and buses increased by almost 6pc last year, and rose by 14pc between 2012 and 2015 as the economy recovered.

Change: Denis Naughten
Change: Denis Naughten

The data comes as the State yesterday ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to reduce emissions and keep global warming to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Emissions from the energy sector are now higher in Ireland than the European average, despite sustained investment in renewables.

The data shows that while over the last decade emissions have fallen, carbon generated from transport has risen year-on-year since 2012. Use of cheap coal and peat to generate electricity is also on the rise, which is resulting in higher emissions.

"Emissions from the power generation sector increased by 5.3pc (in 2015)," the SEAI said.

"The greater use of the coal-fired plant at Moneypoint for electricity generation in 2015 - an increase of 20pc in emissions - was the main factor in the overall national increase in power generation emissions."

The carbon intensity of electricity also increased, due to the 19.6pc increase in coal and 1pc increase in peat for generation.

The SEAI said there was a need for more action to help the State move to a low-carbon economy.

"This is true for all sectors and in particular the transport sector," head of low carbon technologies at the SEAI," said Dr Eimear Cotter.

The 'Energy-Related Emissions in Ireland' report for 2016 also shows that overall emissions fell by 18.6pc between 2005 and 2015 during a period when the economy grew by 40pc.

Transport now accounts for the largest share of emissions at 37pc, followed by residential (25pc), industry (22pc) and services (13pc). Use of renewable energy including wind avoided 3.2 million tonnes of carbon in 2015. Use of green power also helped avoid spending €255m on imported fossil fuels, while reducing emissions.

Climate Change Minister Denis Naughten said the decision to ratify the Paris Agreement was a "turning point" and a basis for "doing more" to tackle climate change.

Irish Independent

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