The Environmental Pillar reacts with dismay to the news that Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 increased by 1% from 2011, as evidenced by today’s report from the EPA. We call on the government to deliver a strong Climate Change Bill with binding targets, and to re-evaluate the sustainability of Food Harvest 2020 using realistic figures.
‘We now have a range of government policies that contradict each other: Food Harvest 2020, Our Sustainable Future, the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the Climate Change Bill,’ said Environmental Pillar spokesperson Cillian Lohan.
A major contributor to the increase in emissions was the increased use of coal and peat in electricity generation, up by a massive 27% and 16% respectively, as a result of low coal and carbon prices. Our use of renewables rose by merely 2%. Clearly the current carbon pricing model needs reform to discourage the use of these ‘dirty’ fuels.
Agricultural emissions increased by 3% in line with expansion of the sector under Food
Harvest 2020. ‘This highlights the lack of credibility of the claims made about the sustainability of Food Harvest 2020. The recent public consultation report examines the effects of implementing Food Harvest 2020 based on a model that predicts little or no increase in stocking rates – a completely unrealistic assumption,’ said Mr Lohan.
‘The impact of Food Harvest 2020 on climate change has not been accounted for, and needs to be urgently addressed so that agriculture is part of the solution to our crisis and not part of the problem,’ he continued.
‘The increase in emissions, at a time of ongoing economic downturn when you would expect a decrease in emissions, is particularly depressing. The failure of existing policy processes to achieve the necessary reductions underlines the need for a strong Climate Change Bill with binding targets, and a re-evaluation of the sustainability of Food Harvest 2020 using realistic figures,” Mr Lohan concluded.