| 17.8°C Dublin

Climate getting warmer and wetter

Our climate is getting warmer and wetter due to climate change.

The EPA report says studies show that average temperatures have increased by 0.7C between 1890 and 2007, the growing season is lasting longer and there is evidence of a trend for more intense and frequent rainfall.

But current environmental policies will not result in the necessary cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the report warns, with EU targets likely to be missed.

Ireland is among the highest producers of carbon, which causes climate change, mainly from agricultural and transport sources. And plans to increase food production will make meeting our international obligations a "challenge".

"Projections by the EPA indicate that, even in the best-case scenario, Ireland will breach its annual obligations," the report says. "Further cost-effective actions need to be identified, assessed, adopted and implemented to reduce emissions in the near term."

The report backs recent research from Met Eireann which also found that average temperatures were increasing.

The EPA says carbon tax should be levied on peat and coal, the most-polluting fossil fuels, and that the ban on smoky-coal should be extended.

While air quality is generally good, the failure to tackle private car use has resulted in problems in larger cities including Cork and Dublin.

This is because 75pc of all journeys are made by car, and while new standards mean vehicles are less polluting than before, there has been little or no reduction in usage.

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Irish Independent