EPA projections are the kick in the backside the Government needs

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EPA delivers stark warning on Government’s slow progress on climate

Friends of the Earth has described the EPA projections for climate pollution, published today, as a “stark warning” and “the kick in the backside the Government needs”. The figures show that without immediate corrective action Ireland will overshoot the legally binding ceilings on climate pollution set by the Dáil for the periods 2021 to 2025 and 2026 to 2030 by 13% and 40% respectively. EPA Director General, Laura Burke, warned that only the “delivery of large-scale practical actions to decarbonise activities in all sectors” in the short term would get us on track.

Reacting to today’s figures, Friends of the Earth Chief Executive, Oisín Coghlan, said:

“These EPA projections are the kick in the backside the Government needs. This Government has been good at setting targets and making plans but far too slow and timid at delivering practical action to cut emissions.

“Four years ago the Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency on a cross-party basis. But the Government is still not acting like they actually believe this is an emergency.

“Just a year ago the Dáil set legally binding limits on climate pollution for 2021 to 2025 and 2026 to 2030 on a cross-party basis (our carbon budgets). Now we need cross-party support for the brave and bold climate action measures we need to live within those limits.

“The Government needs to call an immediate halt to the uncontrolled growth of data centres which threaten to blow our carbon budgets on their own. We need the immediate shift of road space from cars to buses, bicycles and pedestrians. We need to stop putting new gas boilers into our homes and we need to stop building them all with cement rather than timber.

“When Leo Varadkar first became Taoiseach he admitted that Ireland was a ‘climate laggard’ and pledged to be more ambitious. His governments have delivered more ambition but now he risks becoming a climate hypocrite unless he matches that ambition with action.

“The Government has 18 months to turn the ship around. We are exactly half way through the first five-year carbon budget period. It is possible to make up the 13% overshot with concerted action across all Government departments. And state agencies. Too many state agencies are dragging their heels on climate action, from Gas Networks Ireland to the CRU, and Teagasc to An Bord Pleanála.

“We know the Climate Change Advisory Council was generous when recommending the first carbon budget, allowing the Government time to ramp up action and backloading emissions reductions to the second half of the decade. So the Government has no excuse if they blow the budget”

Summary of EPA projections compared with our carbon budgets:

EPA figures summary.JPG

Key findings

  • Ireland’s carbon budget for 2021 to 2025 is 295 million tones of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) for all sectors combined. That’s a 15% reduction on emissions over the previous five years, which were 345 MtCO2e.

  • Today’s EPA analysis show that, as far as they can tell, the Government’s 2023 Climate Action Plan would only deliver cuts of 4% for the period 2021 to 2025 compared to 2016-2020, with projected emissions of 332 Mt down from 345 Mt over the previous five years.

  • The EPA’s projected emissions for 2021 to 2025, at 332 Mt, are in fact the same as Ireland’s actual emissions from 2011-2015.

  • The shortage of adequate climate actions is even more evident for the second carbon budget period of 2026 to 2030, where current policies and measures see emissions of 280 Mt, 40% above the legally binding carbon budget of 200 Mt.

Categorised in:
Climate Change