Thursday 22 February 2018

Ireland faces fine for failing to hit targets on carbon emissions

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Ireland is likely to face sanctions after the EU Climate Action and Energy commissioner conceded the country will fail to meet targets to reduce carbon emissions by 20pc before 2020.

Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said the country needed to explore alternative and renewable energy streams.

He added that he was aware Ireland was dealing with a difficult situation as agricultural emissions dramatically increase our overall carbon footprint.

It means Ireland could now be fined by the EU. The country will also be under pressure to achieve later EU targets, such as increasing energy efficiency by 27pc before 2030.

Mr Canete met with Energy Minister Denis Naughten and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed yesterday to discuss a revised initiative to address emissions in key industries.

Livestock

He said the Government informed him Ireland was unlikely to meet carbon reduction targets. "We have an ongoing dialogue with the Irish Government," he said.

"The commission fully understands the unique position of Ireland because the emissions from agriculture doubles the rest of the European Union. It is over 40pc and that is unique.

"We support action to improve the energy efficiency of the farming sector as well as climate-friendly agricultural practices and the reduction of livestock emissions."

Data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows emissions in 2020 will be 5pc to 12pc below 2005 levels, well below the 20pc reduction target.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan was disappointed with the commissioners' concession.

"The Government's main message to him was that it will be utterly impossible for us to meet our climate reduction targets. We should be using Ireland as a test location to show we are the best place in the world to do it.

"It would create employment and save us money and allow us to meet our emissions targets."

Irish Independent

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