Policies to reduce emissions 'are failing'
Rising emissions from agriculture and transport will mean Ireland will miss EU 2020 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned new measures are needed to allow the State to transition to a low-carbon economy, and that instead of reducing emissions generated in 2005 by 20pc by 2020, it will be just 4pc-6pc.
The projections are far gloomier than previous studies by the EPA, which suggested we could be between 6pc and 11pc below 2005 levels. EPA director general Laura Burke criticised Government policies, saying they were not sufficient.
"The EPA's latest greenhouse gas projections are a disappointing indicator that the current range of policy measures to reduce emissions and to meet compliance obligations are failing in an improving economy," she said.
Friends of the Earth said the figures highlighted the "complete inadequacy" of Government plans to tackle climate change. The Green Party warned we would be just one of two EU countries to miss our targets, and that moving to a green economy presented economic opportunities.
Climate Change Minister Denis Naughten said that "difficult decisions" were required to reduce emissions, especially in light of more onerous targets which would be agreed at EU level this year, covering the period to 2030.
The lack of progress leaves the State open to EU fines.
Agriculture and transport will account for the largest share of emissions, and they are expected to increase in line with economic growth and plans to ramp-up food production. Cuts in the residential, commercial and waste sectors are also required to move Ireland to a low-carbon economy.