Are we on track to meet our EU emission reduction targets for 2020?
No, but we are on track to meet and possibly exceed our target of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020 compared with 2005 for those sectors covered by the EU’s emissions trading scheme (such as fossil-fuel power plants, energy-intensive industries and certain specified manufacturing processes).
But figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in May 2014 suggest that we face considerable challenges in reducing our GHG emissions by 20% in those sectors not covered by the EU-ETS 1. These include transport, agriculture, industry and commercial, households and waste.
EPA projections show that under the best-case scenario, GHG emissions will remain relatively static in the non-ETS sectors up to 2020. Consequently, overall emissions in 2020 are projected to be 5% – 14% below 2005 levels by 2020. This will give rise to additional cost as we will have to purchase allowances or incur fines.
There are several reasons why we will not meet the EU target of a 20% reduction.
Our GHG profile is skewed by the country’s agricultural sector (Fig. 14). Animal numbers, liming and fertiliser use heavily influence emissions from agriculture. It is forecast that these pressures will be exacerbated with increases in production expected as part of the Food Harvest 2020. Consequently, there will be a rise in agricultural emissions of at least 9% 2.