Friday, October 12 11:15:53
Although on track to meet its Kyoto agreement obligations, Ireland is still a long way from a low carbon economy, according to latest findings.
Figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions fell by 6.7 per cent in 2011 to 57.34 million tonnes. Residential sector emissions saw the largest fall at 15.6 per cent, while industry and commercial emissions decreased by 10.7 per cent.
Agriculture remains the single largest contributor to overall emissions, at 32.1 per cent of the total, followed by energy (primarily power generation) and transport at 20.8 per cent and 19.7 per cent respectively. The remainder is made up by the industry and commercial at 14.0 per cent, the residential sector at 11.5 per cent and waste at 18.0 per cent.
The figures show that Ireland's combined emissions in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 were 1.77 million tonnes above its Kyoto limit when the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and approved Forest Sinks are taken into account. Taking unused allowances from the ETS into account, Ireland is on track to meet its Kyoto commitment. However, the country faces considerable challenges in meeting EU 2020 targets and developing a low-carbon emission pathway to 2050.
"Ireland's progress in meeting its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol is very welcome," said Dara Lynott, Deputy Director General of the EPA. "However, we must not assume that recession induced reductions mean that environmental pressures are being managed in a sustainable way. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and moving Ireland to a resource efficient and sustainable society will require an integrated approach by policy makers and behavioural change by us all."