FOR THE third year in a row, Ireland has exceeded the European Union's annual target for allocated greenhouse gas emissions, having emitted approximately 60.5 million tonnes throughout 2018.
In details released by Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency, it was revealed that Ireland had missed 2018's target by 5 million tonnes-- an uptake from the 2017 figures, which had seen Ireland exceed the target by 3 million tonnes.
However, the country's overall emissions had fallen by a tiny percentage--0.2%.
This is due to Ireland's energy sectors making a significant attempt to reduce their own CO2, but offset by a growth in emissions from households, transport and agriculture across the country.
This is due in part to a colder winter-- and The Beast From The East-- resulting in higher household use of oil to heat houses; a strong economy resulting in more transport of goods with petrol and diesel vehicles, and; a higher number of cows being farmed for dairy.
The EPA have said that these worrying figures show that Ireland is failing to meet targets set out by the EU's 2030 climate targets, or to keep the global temperature well below 2ºC below pre-industrial levels.
It is also falling short of emission targets which would result in complete carbon neutrality by 2050, a promise made by the government in June of this year.
The agency have said that Ireland needs "swift implementation" of the government's 2019 Climate Action Plan to pit the country on the right track to meet its commitments.
Dr Eimear Cotter, Director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, said of the figures:
“Ireland has exceeded its annual EU emissions budget for the third year in a row, and by a margin of over 5 million tonnes.
At a time of global urgency to address climate change this is a national trend that we must reverse. It is time for businesses and communities to support and be supported in taking action to reduce emissions.
Ireland must implement the ambitious commitments in the 2019 Climate Action Plan to play its role in averting the worst impacts of climate change”
The EPA have recommended the use of efficient renewable energy, a transition to electric vehicles and an increase in the use of public transport to help reverse the trend.