Ireland faces huge costs as emissions surge

Greenhouse gas emissions have significantly increased in Ireland, making achievement of Ireland’s long term decarbonisation goals “ever more difficult”. That’s according to the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which revealed […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Greenhouse gas emissions have significantly increased in Ireland, making achievement of Ireland’s long term decarbonisation goals “ever more difficult”.

That’s according to the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which revealed the nation saw a 3.5% increase last year.

Emissions in the energy sector rose by 6.1%, transport emissions by 3.7% and agriculture emissions by 2.7%.

It is the second year in a row that Irish emissions have risen, with the EPA stating the country has not managed to decouple emissions from economic growth.

The Irish Government has set a target of cutting emissions by 20% by 2020.

However, Ireland is projected to exceed its obligations by between 11.5 million tons (Mt) of CO2 equivalent and 13.7MtCO2 over the period 2013 and 2020.

Paul Deane, Research Fellow at University College Cork in Ireland told ELN emissions in all key sectors “are going in the wrong direction” and the latest figures underline the need for urgent action.

He believes it is very likely Ireland will have to buy emission reduction credits from other countries, which could cost up to €140 million (£125m) in 2020.

Mr Deane adds the total cost of compliance for the nation’s emissions reduction and renewable targets could range between €148 million (£132m) and €455 million (£407m).

Dr. Eimear Cotter, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, said: “Achieving Ireland’s long-term decarbonisation objective can only take place with a transformation of our energy, agriculture and transport systems. We need to adopt a much greater sense of urgency about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while radically improving energy efficiency.

“In relation to agriculture, Ireland must optimise agricultural production to ensure long term environmental integrity and sustainability. The growth in this sector, particularly for dairy and other cattle, points to very significant risks in relation to meeting our decarbonisation objectives.”