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Climate Change Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 8 November 2018

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Questions (229)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

229. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the degree to which a 25% reduction in the use of fossil fuels can address the growing burden of carbon and relevant fines arising from failure to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46440/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arise from a number of different sources, including use of fossil fuels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produces national greenhouse gas emission projections on an annual basis.  According to the latest inventory figures from the EPA, total GHG emissions in Ireland in 2016 amounted to 61.55 Mt CO2eq. The breakdown of emissions by sector is as follows:

Sector

Mt CO2eq.

% of total 2016 emissions

Agriculture

19.85

32.3%

Energy Industries

12.56

20.4%

Transport

12.29

20%

Residential

6.05

9.8%

Manufacturing Combustion

4.55

7.4%

Industrial Processes

2.15

3.5%

F-Gases

1.27

2.1%

Commercial Services

0.99

1.6%

Waste

0.96

1.6%

Public Services

0.87

1.4%

Total ETS

17.73

29%

Total Non-ETS

43.81

71%

Total for all sectors

61.55

100%

According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland report, Energy in Ireland 1990 - 2016 , energy-related greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use accounted for 37.2 Mt CO2eq in 2016, approximately 60% of total emissions in that year. On the basis of this data, a 25% reduction in fossil fuel use could theoretically result in a reduction in emissions of 9.3 Mt CO2eq.

The 2009 Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) 406/2009/EC established binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets for EU Member States for the period 2013 to 2020. These targets concern emissions from most sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), such as transport, buildings, agriculture and waste. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20% below their value in 2005. In the period 2021 to 2030, Ireland must reduce its non-ETS emissions by 30% relative to 2005 levels of emissions by 2030. This is where we must now focus our efforts to ensure that, at the absolute very least, we meet our 2030 target.

Ireland's National Mitigation Plan (NMP), published in 2017, sets out the sectorial policy measures required in order to manage Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions at a level appropriate for making progress towards our long-term national transition objective, as well as taking into account our EU and international obligations. Although this first Plan does not provide a complete roadmap to achieve our national transition objective to 2050, it begins the process of development of medium- to long-term options to ensure that we are well positioned to take the necessary actions in the next and future decades.

Building on the National Mitigation Plan, the publication in February of the National Development Plan reaffirms the Government’s commitment to transitioning Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient economy and society. Reflecting the strong commitment of Government on this issue, almost €22 billion will be directed, between Exchequer and non-Exchequer resources, to addressing the transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient society. This means that well over €1 in €5 spent under the National Development Plan (NDP) will be on climate action and this capital investment will enable us to deliver a significant reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions over the period to 2030.

Further building on these Government initiatives to date, l will shortly seek Government approval to prepare an all of government plan which will set out the actions which must be taken in every government department and body. The central ambition of this plan will be to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change.  I will work with colleagues across Government to develop new initiatives across electricity, transport, heat, as well as a range of other sectors. The new plan will have a strong focus on implementation, including actions with clear timelines and steps to needed to achieve each action, assigning clear lines of responsibility for delivery. The new plan will also be informed by successful approaches in other countries, where such approaches could be adapted for implementation in Ireland.

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