Ireland is way off track for 2020 climate targets, European study finds

The Environmental Pillar is calling on the government to end its disjointed approach to emissions targets and put Ireland at the forefront of climate change action.
The Environmental Pillar, which is made up of 28 Irish environmental NGOs, is disappointed but not surprised by the European Environment Agency (EEA) study which found Ireland will not meet its 2020 emissions targets.
The report which was published yesterday shows that, as it stands, Ireland is one of the poorest performing countries in relation to emissions targets – second only to Luxembourg as most likely to miss targets with existing measures.
It shows that Ireland is one of only four European countries who will miss their targets even when additional measures are factored in.
In light of this the Environmental Pillar is calling for the government to force every department to play their part in addressing climate change.
“At present a number of government departments, most notably Transport, have been ignoring national emission targets. This needs to stop,” said Environmental Pillar spokesman Oisín Coghlan.
“The government also needs to stop propagating the myth that Ireland is hard done by in relation to targets and start making proper plans move to a low carbon economy.
“If the country does not make serious moves towards cutting emissions now we will pay for it in the future – either by having to make more serious cuts over a shorter period or paying out very large sums of money for our excessive emissions.
“Ireland is just recovering from policies that placed short term gain at the expense of long term sustainability. It is vital that we don’t go down the same road again.”
Key actions to help Ireland get back on track
* Guarantee that all strategy documents prepared by government departments acknowledge and include actions to achieve emissions targets
* Examine all current strategy documents and amend them to include action on emission targets
* Include the definition of low carbon from the government’s national policy position in the Climate Bill.
* Establish a Climate Change Advisory Council on an independent footing similar to the Fiscal Advisory Council
The report entitled ‘Trends and projections in Europe 2014: Tracking progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets for 2020,’ was published yesterday by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
It outlines how Ireland is not on track to meet its 2020 emissions targets set under the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision.
While Ireland has met its target for 2013 if nothing is done to cut emissions Ireland will start to exceed the targets by 2016 and by 2020 will be producing emissions 21.2 per cent above the target.
The agency report contains two scenarios; the first is if no further action is taken and the second includes planned additional measures. Even when Ireland’s planned measures are accounted for the target will still be exceeded by 12.5 per cent by 2020.
The report also shows that Ireland has more to do in relation to renewable energy. Ireland is considered to be only partly on track for renewable energy targets because while the country is on course for the Renewable Energy Directive it is still falling behind on the target in the National Renewable Energy Action Plan for 2012.