Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (32)

Brian O'Shea

Question:

158 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the progress made to date in implementing the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions agreed by Ireland under the Kyoto agreement; when he expects that the targets will be met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2870/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 81 of 26 November 2003. Kyoto obligations arise in the commitment period 2008 to 2012. Ireland has embarked on a challenging programme to limit the growth in greenhouse gas emissions through vigorous implementation of the Government's national climate change strategy published in November 2000. This comprises a systematic programme towards meeting these obligations and sets a ten year policy framework for achieving the necessary emissions reductions. Its strategic approach across all sectors is in line with that adopted in other EU member states for ensuring that Kyoto obligations are met.

A progress report on the implementation of the strategy was published in May 2002. While this shows that measures in place or in progress are capable of achieving approximately 20% of the reductions required to meet our Kyoto Protocol obligations, continuing emissions increases due to volume growth in the economy mean that implementation of the strategy must be intensified.

I have, therefore, initiated a review of implementation of the strategy to ensure more focused and intensive implementation. This process will incorporate an update on greenhouse gas emissions projections, together with a particular emphasis on cross-cutting economic instruments to achieve Ireland's Kyoto target. Arrangements are well under way to ensure Irish industry and the power generation sector can participate in EU-wide emissions trading of CO2 from January 2005. Emissions trading will cover about one third of Irish national emissions in an EU market of approximately half of EU-25 greenhouse gas emissions. This programme will assist in ensuring these sectors meet their reduction obligations in the most economically efficient manner through access to the least-cost emissions reduction opportunities across the EU.

I intend to publish the outcome of the review of the national climate change strategy as soonas possible and I am satisfied that full implementation over the remainder of the decade, together with any additional measures which may be identified in the review, will ensure that our Kyoto obligations will be fully met.