CO2 emissions from energy are increasing despite statutory reductions


CO2 emissions from gas, oil, coal and other fossil fuels rose 6.3 percent last year when the law ought to have reduced them by about 4.8 percent.

The wrong trend is highlighted by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which warns that the transition to renewable energy needs to be accelerated.

The surge was partly due to a surge in energy use as activity rebounded after Covid restrictions, but mainly to a tripling in the amount of oil and coal used to generate electricity.

This happened because long periods of no wind reduced the output of wind turbines and long periods of drought affected hydroelectric power generation.

Wind fell 15.8 percent and hydro fell 19.6 percent. The result of using more fossil fuels to generate electricity was a 16.9 percent increase in CO2 emissions from electricity generation compared to 2020.

The government last year passed carbon budgets that require an annual reduction in total emissions from all sectors of 4.8 percent per year from 2021 to 2025.

The exact cuts required for each sector vary and have yet to be formally approved, but energy is considered an area with high potential for reductions due to the growth in renewable energy.

Margie McCarthy, SEAI Research Director, said the development of renewable energy and other carbon reduction measures outlined in the National Climate Action Plan must be accelerated.

“The emissions in 2021 are clear signals of the importance of immediately implementing the measures set out in our national climate protection plan,” she said.

SEAI figures highlight Ireland’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels, most of which are imported.

Fossil fuels provided 86.2 percent of the country’s transportation, heating, cooling and electricity needs.

A total of 77 percent of that energy was imported last year, including a significant increase in imports of natural gas.

The Corrib gas field supplied just 28.7 percent of the nation’s gas needs, compared to 36.2 percent in 2020.

“We need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy much faster to ensure a clean and secure energy supply,” Ms McCarthy said.

“The reasons for reducing dependence on fossil fuels are clear and will help protect us from massive increases in gas and oil prices.

“We encourage businesses, citizens and communities to take advantage of existing government supports and make any changes possible to move away from fossil fuel use now.” CO2 emissions from energy are increasing despite statutory reductions

Fry Electronics Team

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