Sunday 17 November 2019

Climate emissions figures make for grim reading

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke

Caroline O'Doherty

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased in all but one area, leaving us even further away from reaching our climate action targets.

Emissions from households, industry, farming and transport have all risen and our carbon output is now five million tonnes higher than the EU allows before imposing fines.

Latest figures from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reveal how the country performed last year and they make for grim reading

While there was a 11.7pc reduction in emissions from electricity generation, it was largely due to the coal-burning ESB station at Moneypoint being out of action.

Moneypoint is back in operation and while the Government's Climate Action Plan requires a complete stop to its use of coal by 2025, it will make 2019 emissions reduction targets harder to achieve.

Overall, there was a decrease of 0.2pc in emissions last year, but because the reduction required under EU law increases each year, the gap between our emissions and our target is widening.

Dr Eimear Cotter, of the EPA, said the trend had to be reversed. "We need swift implementation of the Climate Action Plan to put Ireland on the right track to meet its commitments," she said.

In total, Ireland emitted 60.51 million tonnes of carbon and other greenhouse gases last year. Emissions from agriculture grew by 1.9pc, from industry by 4.7pc, from transport by almost 2pc and from the residential sector - mainly home heating - by 8pc.

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said the decrease in emissions was "too small", adding: "Ireland has drifted off target and we must implement a decisive policy shift."

He added the Climate Action Plan would help, adding: "I note the EPA's comments today calling for the swift implementation of the plan."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss

Also in News