By TIM O’BRIEN
Ireland’s emissions decrease
The State is unlikely to need to purchase any more carbon credits to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets before 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency said today.
However, the agency warned that without the economic recession, Ireland would have been a long way from its Kyoto targets for 2013.
It also warned any economic upswing would have to be carefully “greened” to avoid a major problem with emissions in the EU accounting period to 2020.
Announcing the greenhouse gas levels for 2009 in Dublin yesterday the agency said emissions fell by 5.4 million tonnes to 62.32 million tonnes, largely as a result of the economic slowdown.
For the first time reductions were recorded across all categories including industry and commercial; energy; transport; agriculture; residential and waste.
In the industry and commercial sector, emissions fell by 20 per cent with emissions from the cement industry falling by 38 per cent, a feature which the agency said reflected the decline in the construction industry.
Falling demand for electricity and the addition of renewable energy resources contributed to the emissions from the energy sector falling 10.7 per cent, while emissions from the transport sector declined by about 7.7 per cent.
Emissions from agriculture continued to decline from a 1998 peak, a feature which was attributed to fewer livestock. The agriculture reduction was about 1.5 per cent.
In the residential area, emissions fell by 0.9 per cent. The agency said the figure reflected a slightly reduced demand for energy from householders, despite the weather in 2009 being similar to 2008.
Commenting on the figures, which are provisional, EPA director general Dr Mary Kelly said the magnitude of the reductions was “unprecedented”.
She said the 20 per cent cut in emissions from industry “particularly” reflected the impact which the severe economic recession was having on industrial output.