Ireland is "completely off course" as greenhouse gas emissions are rising instead of falling
Increased output in agriculture is leading to increased emissions, despite efficiency gains.
A recent report published by the Climate Change Advisory Council has shown that Ireland is "completely off course" in terms of achieving its 2020 and 2030 emissions reduction targets.
The Climate Change Advisory Council is an independent advisory body tasked with assessing and advising on how Ireland can achieve the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy.
It was established on 18 January 2016 under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.
Their annual review for 2018 reveals that, without urgent action that leads to tangible and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, "Ireland is unlikely to deliver on national, EU and international obligations".
This will, in turn, drift them further from a pathway that is consistent with "a transition to a low-carbon economy and society".
"Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2016, and projections of emissions to 2035, are disturbing," the report says.
Emissions in 2016 were 62 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
This means that, for the first time, emissions exceeded the annual limit under the EU Effort Sharing Decision.
The report shows that Ireland will indeed miss its 2020 EU Effort Sharing Decision cumulative emissions reduction target by 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
It was agreed some years ago that Ireland would deliver a 20% reduction in non-ETS greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (in comparison to its 2005 levels), however, it is believed that that number will actually be closer to 5 - 6% – resulting in severe penalties for the country.
Without new policies and measures, Ireland is also predicted to miss its 2030 EU Effort Sharing Regulation cumulative emissions reduction target by 92 million tonnes "excluding the use of allowed flexibilities."
"This will take us further away from achieving our national transition objective for 2050," the report reads.
"If the flexibilities are fully utilised, the gap reduces to 47 million tonnes. However, this would imply cost and effort which should be planned for.
"The observed and projected increase in agricultural emissions and ongoing carbon losses from land use (including from peat extraction) undermine our ability to achieve the national transition objective and our EU targets for 2020 and 2030."
"This is of great concern to the Council."
The Council recommends that the carbon tax is raised to €30 per tonne in Budget 2019 as an essential component of achieving decarbonisation, rising to €80 per tonne by 2030.
This, unfortunately, isn't news – as Ireland was ranked second worst in a recent in-depth publication by Climate Action Change Europe.
The report, which looks into how European countries perform in reaching their climate and energy targets, ranked Ireland 28th, with a score of 21%.
According to recent surveys, environmental scientists believe that, should climate change continue as its believed to, no fewer than 152,000 weather-related deaths a year will occur between the years 2071 and 2100.