Green Madness: Ireland Faces €3-6bn Emissions Failure Costs

  • Date: 28/02/19
  • Green News Ireland

The Institute of International and European Affairs estimates that missing CO2 emissions targets could cost Ireland between €3bn and €6bn for both compliance periods up to 2020 and 2030.

The European Commission has found that the State’s climate plans fall far short of the level of ambiton required to put Ireland on a path to achieve its 2030 targets.

The Commission’s 2019 Country Report for Ireland states that we are “falling further behind” our EU compatriots in decarbonising the economy, raising “health, climate and environmental concerns”.

The report points to “severe challenges” in tackling rising emissions in transport, agriculture, energy and the built environment.

In 2016, emissions increased by over 2.5 per cent in agriculture, four per cent in transport and six per cent in the energy sector – primarily due to an increase in the use of gas for electricity generation.

The Government needs to quickly define “policy and investment needs to ensure environmentally and socially sustainable development” in line with EU principles, the report states.

The Commission’s analysis, however, indicates that there is “no signs yet that a reversal in trends is to be expected” with both our 2020 and 2030 targets set to be missed.

The Government has accepted that we will fail to meet our 2020 target, with the Minister for Climate Action, Richard Bruton TD stating that current projections put us 95 per cent off target.

He said that it has “never been more clear” that we need a change across government, starting with an all of Government plan to set out actions for every government department and body.

Mr Bruton’s plan should be underpinned by policies and investment that will enable Ireland to reach its 2030 and 2050 targets, the Commission said, with current policy falling short.

Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton at stakeholder meeting Photo: Niall Sargent
Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton at climate meeting Photo: Niall Sargent

Falling short

[…] Mr Bruton has previously said that Ireland will need to spend between €6m and €13m on carbon credits to try and bridge the gap to our 2020 target. This will bring total State spending on emissions allowances and renewable credits to €120m since 2007.

The Institute of International and European Affairs estimates that missing our targets could generate costs of between €3bn and €6bn for both compliance periods up to 2020 and 2030.

Ireland is also likely to miss its 2020 target of achieving 16 per cent of energy from renewable sources by between 1.7 to 3.7 per cent due to uncertainty with the future of support schemes and “lengthy and complex consenting, planning and grid access procedures”.

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