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Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 30 November 2005

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Ceisteanna (142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149)

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

178 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the target that Ireland has set in the national climate change strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for the industry, commercial and services sector; the reduction achieved in the sector to date in 2005; the target for reduction in greenhouse gases attributable to the industry, commercial and services sector for each year between now and 2012; the estimated annual cost to Ireland if greenhouse gas emissions from this sector remain at their current level; the steps he is taking to ensure the target is achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37156/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

179 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the target that Ireland has set in the national climate change strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for the industry, commercial and services sector due to up to £75 tonne CO2 efficiency measures by 2012; the reduction achieved by these measures in the sector to date in 2005; the target for reduction in greenhouse gases due up to £75 tonne CO2 efficiency measures for each year between now and 2012; the steps he is taking to ensure the 2012 target is achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37159/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

180 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the target that Ireland has set in the national climate change strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for the industry, commercial and services sector due to process substitution for cement by 2012; the reduction achieved by these measures in the sector to date in 2005; the target for reduction in greenhouse gases due process substitution for cement for each year between now and 2012; the steps he is taking to ensure the 2012 target is achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37160/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

181 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the target that Ireland has set in the national climate change strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for the industry, commercial and services sector due to measures relating to industrial gases such as PFCs, HFCs and SF6 by 2012; the reduction achieved by these measures in the sector to date in 2005; the target for reduction in greenhouse gases due process substitution for cement for each year between now and 2012; the steps he is taking to ensure the 2012 target is achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37161/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

182 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the progress that has been made to date in 2005 in respect of the planned agreement regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases under the national climate change strategy between his Department, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the cement industry to ensure that the reductions in emissions achieved are at the global benchmark for industry best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37163/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

183 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the progress that has been made to date in 2005 in respect of the planned agreement regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases under the national climate change strategy between his Department, the Department of Agriculture and Food and the fertiliser manufacturing sector to ensure that the reductions in emissions achieved are at the global benchmark for industry best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37164/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

184 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the progress that has been made to date in 2005 in respect of the planned agreement regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases under the national climate change strategy between his Department and the semi-conductor industry to control the emissions of PFCs and other industrial gases (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37165/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

185 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the details of an agreement that has been negotiated under the national climate change strategy as between his Department and the relevant industry sectors in respect of HFC use; the target date set by such agreements for the elimination of the use of HFCs; the progress which has been made to date in 2005 to eliminate HFC use; the steps he intends to take between now and the target date set to ensure the elimination of the use of HFCs; the percentage reduction in HFC use he expects to achieve by 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37166/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 to 185, inclusive, together.

The national climate change strategy, NCCS, published in 2000, sets out Ireland's approach to meeting its target for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol, which is to limit growth in greenhouse gas emissions to 13% above 1990 levels in the 2008-12 commitment period. In respect of the industry, commercial and services sector, the NCCS stated that total emissions in 1990 were 9.65 metric tonnes of CO2 and were projected to rise to 15 metric tonnes of CO2 by 2010. The NCCS set a target of a reduction of 2.175 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum on projected emissions in that sector for the period 2008-12.

The most up to date figures available on emissions are those in the National Inventory Report 2005, prepared by the EPA, which provides data up to 2003. That shows that, in 2003, emissions of CO2 from the industrial, commercial and services sector amounted to 11.180 metric tonnes of CO2. The target in the NCCS relates to the average for the Kyoto Protocol period and is not defined on an annual basis.

There have been a number of policy developments since the publication of the NCCS in 2000, the most significant of which is the establishment of the EU emissions trading scheme, EU ETS. Over 80% of Irish industry CO2 emissions come within the scope of the EU ETS. A market based mechanism, works on a cap and trade basis. It is a very important instrument in achieving our Kyoto Protocol targets in the industry sector because it requires the Government to set an overall cap on CO2 emissions for industry participants in the trading sector.

In terms of the cost to Ireland if greenhouse gas emissions remain at their current level, it is for individual installations to ensure compliance with the scheme and they may do so in the most cost effective manner available to them. If emission reductions cannot be achieved through their own action, installations may meet their individual targets through emissions trading, which permits access to least cost emissions reduction opportunities throughout the EU and internationally. The cost of the actions taken is a matter for participating installations.

The target set in the NCCS for emission reductions due to process substitution for cement is 0.5 metric tonnes of CO2 per annum over the period 2008-12. However, since the publication of the NCCS in 2000, the EU ETS has been developed and it commenced operation on 1 January of this year. The cement sector comes within the scope of the EU ETS and each individual installation has been given a cap on its emissions, which includes process emissions. As stated above, it is for individual installations to ensure compliance with the scheme and they may do so in the most cost effective manner available to them, including process substitution. The cement sector is currently engaged with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on possible measures to facilitate the more widespread use of lower clinker content cement in the Irish market.

Regarding emission reductions from up to £75 tonne CO2 efficiency measures, the target set in the NCCS is 0.25 metric tonnes of CO2 per annum in the period 2008-12. At this stage, disaggregated figures are not available. Therefore, it is not possible to identify reductions attributable to such measures. Regarding industrial gases, such as HFCs, PFCs and SF6, the target set in the NCCS for emission reductions is 0.5 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum over the period 2008-12. The EPA is currently undertaking an updated inventory study on industrial gases and its results are expected shortly. As noted in the 2005 national inventory report prepared by the EPA, the compilation of emissions estimates for industrial gases present major new challenges for inventory agencies because they emanate from diverse sources that are entirely different to those traditionally covered by atmospheric emissions inventories and the uses of many of the substances concerned are changing very rapidly in the marketplace.

The 2005 national inventory report shows that, in 2003, the latest year for which figures were available, emissions from industrial gases accounted for less than 1% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland. It also shows that emissions of industrial gases from the semi-conductor sector were approximately 20% lower in 2003 than in 2000. There are two major companies involved in semi-conductor manufacture in Ireland that utilise industrial gases in their processes. Information on the use and losses of these compounds are reported by the individual companies in their annual environmental reports to the EPA. The Irish semi-conductor manufacture sector is party to a voluntary agreement to reduce global warming gas emissions to 10% below 1995 levels by 2010.

Regarding HFCs, the European Commission put forward a proposal in 2003 to regulate emissions of fluoridated gases, including HFCs. The proposal is divided into a directive dealing with HFCs in vehicle air conditioning and a regulation dealing with containment, use, recovery and destruction of fluoridated greenhouse gases and the placing on the market, labelling and disposal of products and equipment containing those gases. Foam blowing, which is specifically mentioned in the NCCS, comes within the scope of the proposed regulation. The regulation, when adopted, will facilitate the achievement of our reduction targets. Concerning the proposed agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gases from the fertiliser manufacturing sector proposed in the NCCS, the position is that the only fertiliser manufacturing plants in the country, Irish Fertiliser Industries, closed in June 2002.

I believe that good progress is being made towards achieving the NCCS target for the industrial, commercial and services sector. In fact, the third national review of Ireland under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change states that there has been a notable degree of decoupling between GDP and greenhouse gas emissions. None the less, my Department is very conscious of the significant challenges involved in meeting our Kyoto Protocol targets and my officials are continuing to work with industry and with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to ensure that our commitments will be met and as cost effectively as possible.

As indicated earlier, 80% of industry emissions come within the scope of the EU ET, and my Department is currently engaged with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and other Departments on the preparation of Ireland's national allocation plan for the period 2008-12. My Department is also engaged with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on the review of the national climate change strategy. I understand that a review document will be published shortly, which will assess progress in implementing the strategy, assess emission trends across each sector and propose additional measures for Ireland to cost effectively meet its target for the purposes of the Kyoto Protocol.

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