Ireland facing hefty fines for failing to meet targeted reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced

Paul Melia, Environment Correspondent

IRELAND is unlikely to meet legally-binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even if ambitious plans to roll-out electric vehicles and other 'greener' transport measures are achieved.

In a stark warning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says we are not on track to becoming a low-carbon economy, and will fail to meet international targets to reduce emissions.

Ireland’s EU target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, agriculture, residential, waste and non-energy intensive industry by 20pc by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.

But under the "best-case" scenario, emissions are unlikely to reduce up to 2020. EPA figures show that emissions will be 5-12pc below 2005 levels, well below the 20pc target.

“Today’s figures show that we are currently not on track to becoming a low-carbon economy,” EPA Director General Laura Burke said.

“We have not solved the problem of greenhouse gas emissions and this becomes an even more pressing challenge as the economy begins to improve and places further new pressures on emissions targets.”

The reductions - which are below targets - assume that more renewable fuels, targets for electric vehicle rollout and growth in the food sector, Food Harvest 2020, are achieved.

Most emissions come from agriculture and transport.

Failure to meet the EU targets can result in fines.