Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Questions (45)

Mick Wallace

Question:

45. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the measures in either the national policy plan or the national mitigation plan that deal with the necessary reductions in the areas of manufacturing combustion, industrial processes, F-gases, waste sectors or in energy industries other than electricity, including petroleum refining, solid fuel manufacture and fugitive emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17967/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Official inventories of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions are prepared annually by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The most recent data, for the year 2016, was published in April 2018 and is available on the EPA's website at: http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/air/airemissions/ghgemissions2016/.

According to this data, the breakdown of emissions by sector in 2016 is as follows:

Sector

Mt CO2eq.

% of total 2015 emissions

Agriculture

19.851

32.2%

Energy Industries

12.557

20.4%

Transport

12.294

20%

Residential

6.047

9.8%

Manufacturing Combustion

4.555

7.4%

Industrial Processes

2.150

3.5%

F-Gases

1.267

2.1%

Commercial Services

0.994

1.6%

Waste

0.958

1.6%

Public Services

0.873

1.4%

Total ETS

17.748

29%

Total Non-ETS

43.798

71%

Total for all sectors

61.546

100%

Ireland’s first statutory National Mitigation Plan, which I published in July 2017, specifically addresses action in four key sectors of the economy: Electricity Generation; the Built Environment; Transport; and Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use. These sectors account for the vast majority of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions and action in these sectors will be paramount to building the foundations for Ireland’s low carbon transformation considering the cross-cutting nature of the climate challenge.

A number of different sources of emissions, comprising manufacturing combustion, industrial processes, f-gases, and the waste sector, are not specifically addressed in this National Mitigation Plan. Some of these sources comprise relatively small volumes of greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, contribute relatively little to Ireland’s total emissions.  Emissions from a number of these sources are also already controlled by regulation at national and EU level. 

Emissions from manufacturing combustion and industrial processes arise from a variety of sources, including the combustion of fuels in industry and construction as well as process emissions from cement manufacture. These sources are, in the main, regulated in Ireland under the EU Emissions Trading System.

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are regulated in the EU under EU Regulation 517/2014. This Regulation includes provisions for a phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) use (all HFCs placed on the EU market are now controlled through an EU quota system); a number of equipment use bans; and service and maintenance bans for high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants.  The relevant sources of such emissions in Ireland include production, use and disposal of equipment containing these fluids (e.g. refrigerators, mobile air conditioning systems, metered dose inhalers and electrical switch-gear).

In relation to emissions from the waste sector, Government waste policy is predicated on the waste hierarchy as set out in the Waste Framework Directive and seeks to minimise the generation of waste. A number of specific measures have been, and will continue to be, introduced to reduce the volume of waste generated in the State in line with Government policy. The Waste Management Act 1996 contains a number of key legal obligations, including requirements for waste management planning, waste collection and movement, the authorisation of waste facilities, measures to reduce the production of waste and/or promote its recovery. According to the most recent projections of greenhouse gas emissions, published by the EPA in April 2017, emissions from the waste sector are projected to decrease by 36% by 2020 on 2015 levels. This is primarily attributable to methane emissions from landfill reducing significantly, and is underpinned by increased recovery (including recycling and energy recovery) of waste materials and adherence to Food Waste Regulations which reduces the organic content of landfilled waste and thus its greenhouse gas production potential.

Sources of emissions in energy industries not already regulated by the EU Emissions Trading System are subject to a national carbon tax, currently set at €20 per tonne of CO2 emitted. The carbon tax was introduced in 2010 and applies to kerosene, marked gas oil, liquid petroleum gas, fuel oil, natural gas and solid fuels.  The Government is committed to carbon pricing as a core element of the suite of policy measures to address and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time. Carbon pricing has the potential to drive reductions in consumption of fossil fuels and encourage energy efficiency improvements by households and businesses. The Minister for Finance has commissioned further analysis on the carbon tax to inform the policy direction of the tax, with an examination of its mitigation and distributional impacts forming part of an assessment of possible future pathways for incremental increases.

Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 44.