Irish emissions rise

Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has described an increase in the country's annual greenhouse gas emissions as "disappointing".

The country’s emissions tonnage rose by 1.9% in 2005, according to the latest figures compiled by the EPA.

Transport and energy generation are the main culprits.

Dr Mary Kelly, director-general of the EPA said: “The figures are disappointing, reflecting the difficulty of reducing emissions in a growing economy.

“Transport figures are particularly worrying. Major efforts will be required to halt and reverse this trend.”

Ireland’s target for 2008-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol is to limit emissions to 13% above the base line estimate.

But in 2005 emissions were 25.4 percent above the base line.

At 6.9% the rise in transport emissions was the biggest of any sector and was fuelled by road transport, which accounted for 96%.

The EPA said more and larger vehicles are being used and there has been an increased reliance on the private car and sending freight by road.

Overall, transport made up 19% of total emissions.

Elsewhere, energy generation was up 2.4% to a total contribution of 23%. It was said to be due to greater use of peat in fuel mixes.

Agriculture emissions fell 1.8% due to lower livestock numbers and less fertilizer use.

But the sector is still the largest contributor to overall emissions at almost 28%.

However, Dr Kelly voiced confidence Ireland would meet its 2012 Kyoto target by a combination of domestic action and buying carbon credits.

“Greenhouse gases emitted now will remain in the atmosphere for many decades and affect the climate for centuries to come,” she said.

“Actions to reduce domestic emissions must be intensified and strengthened.

“Europe is aiming to limit the inevitable global temperature increase to just two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

“Ireland needs to play its role in meeting this objective. Policy makers must use the detailed breakdown of figures in each sector, provided today, to focus on all areas where reductions are possible and need to be achieved.”

The 2005 figures will remain provisional until they are submitted to the European Commission later this month.

David Gibbs

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