Climate change has become a hot topic in recent years, as it became one of the most profound challenges we face globally. Tackling such an enormous problem will require substantial reductions in carbon emissions across all sectors. Setting a legally binding target to half greenhouse gases emissions by 2030 will rank Ireland among the most ambitious countries in the world on climate action.
Ireland’s ambition to reduce emissions by 50% is a farce. Ireland has a notorious and long-established record in emission figures which do not lie. The latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures confirm the trend. We are on a path of rising emissions with no indication of when it will be stopped – despite the commitments made to do so. However, if this does continue Ireland will continue to miss its energy targets. The result will be financial penalties under the EU green deal.
What is Ireland doing for climate action?
An interesting article by the Irish Times states that ‘Ireland will miss the Climate Action Plan’s target of achieving 70 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 due to a broken planning system’ never mind them reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 (O Sullivan, 2020). The article also summarises the shortcomings of the state in relation to the climate action plan.
Ireland has failed to switch to more energy efficient vehicles. However, this can be primarily based on the fact that Ireland does not have the infrastructure in place to support electric cars e.g. electric car chargers. In addition to this, the agricultural sector is responsible for a third of overall emissions, of greenhouse gases, and very little is in place to reduce these emissions. Presently, fossil fuels are still the dominant heating source in homes due to poor building standards.
What are the 2030 goals?
Unfortunately, we will not know with certainty until the relevant EU legislation is reviewed. The main themes seen throughout, focus on achieving emission reductions of 55% by 2030. It also indicates that what they will expect from each sector. The Climate Target plan states:
- 70% of our electricity will be generate by renewable sources, and we will phase out our fossil fuel use (coal, peat, turf)
- By 2030, Ireland aims to have at least 500,000 existing homes upgraded to BER rating of B2 or higher.
- There will be a single ban on the use of plastics, such as polystyrene food, cup, and drink containers.
- They hope to have 1,200 low emission buses in the cities for the public bus.
- Just under 1, 000,000 vehicles will be powered solely by electricity. In addition to the construction of an EV charging network to stay ahead of demand.
To summarise unless we agree on transformative action to reduce greenhouse emissions, Ireland will yet again, miss their target. Ireland needs to put a proactive plan in place. The planning needs to be implemented carefully, in addition to setting well thought through targets rather than the unrealistic goals they have been setting so far.
O’ Sullivan, K, (2020), ‘Ireland to miss 2030 climate targets due to ‘broken planning system’-report’ The Irish Times. Date of Publication: 14.09.2020.
O’ Sullivan, K, (2019), ‘Q&A: Why is Ireland failing to meet environmental targets?’ The Irish Times. Date of Publication: 25.10.2019.
© Copyright The Irish Times