Overseas allowances ‘could be crucial’ for Irish emissions targets

The Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) has warned that Ireland faces a massive challenge in trying to achieve EU climate change targets, and that the ability to purchase overseas allowances could be crucial.

The European Union yesterday proposed that Ireland cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, based on 2005 figures.

As well as this, it has set a target for renewable energy to account for 16% of all energy generation in Ireland.

Donal Buckley of the IBEC warned that the EU’s proposals are “of fundamental importance” to the Irish business community, which will significantly influence policy in the future.

However, the real issue concerns just how the proposed targets will be met he said.

“Ireland has limited reductions options available relative to the rest of Europe due to our large agricultural sector, rapidly increasing transport sector, and our modern and efficient industrial base,” Mr Buckley said.

Many potential reduction measures are largely uncosted, and their effectiveness unknown, which makes policy choices difficult, he added

“Given that we lack the information to assess the feasibility and financial implications of the proposed targets, it is essential the flexibility to purchase overseas allowances, if needed, is present,” he said.

“These purchases are designed to supplement domestic action, facilitate emissions reductions in developing countries and provide member states and companies an alternative when abatement options either are not present or their social and economic costs are unsustainable.”

Ben Meggeson

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