Explains: What the country needs to do to achieve the climate goals

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Climate targets have been a hot topic in recent weeks, not least because of the upcoming decision on the final limit values ​​for each sector.

n November 2021, the government published its Climate Action Plan, which outlined emissions caps for each sector.

The government was supposed to sign off on the final targets before the Dáil break but now the decision is expected this week.

The Climate Action Plan follows the Climate Act 2021, which commits Ireland to a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest and a 51 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.

Meanwhile, Ireland has set a five-year carbon budget of 295 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq) emissions by 2025. However, the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC), which advises the government on climate policy, has warned that last year, in the plan’s first year, emissions totaled 69.3 MtCO2-eq, or 23 percent of the five-year total.

CCAC chair Marie Donnelly said that fossil fuels used in transport, buildings and electricity account for nearly 50 percent of the emissions that “need to be reduced” and this, combined with the rising cost of fossil fuels and potential bottlenecks, “reinforces the need for fundamental change in communities across Ireland”.

“There is concern that the current deadlines for implementing the key actions under the Climate Action Plan are too long and the processes to facilitate the implementation of these actions are not moving fast enough. The most effective actions urgently need to be prioritized and accelerated at an unprecedented speed,” she added.

But what changes are proposed for each sector in order to achieve the goals of the climate protection plan?

Electricity: 62-81 pieces discount

Key measures of the government plan include the rapid expansion of renewable generation capacity, particularly in offshore wind, solar and microgeneration.

Further measures include increased electricity storage, the use of emission-free gas – such as biogas, biomethane and hydrogen – and the production of hydrogen for use in other industries.

“By 2030, up to 80 percent of electricity will be generated from renewable sources, with a mix of 5 gigawatts (GW) from offshore wind, 8 GW from onshore wind and 1.5 to 2.5 GW from solar PV.” it in the plan.

Transport: 42-50 pieces discount

The government’s focus is on accelerating the electrification of road transport, the use of biofuels and the shift to modes of transport with lower energy consumption, including walking, cycling, active and public transport. A 10 percent reduction in the number of kilometers traveled using fossil fuels is also targeted.

By 2023, all new vehicles purchased by the state will be battery electric vehicles (BEV).

By 2030, the government wants 845,000 electric passenger vehicles (EVs), “with a focus on BEVs,” 95,000 zero-emission vans, and 3,500 zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles (HGVs). It also wants replacements for bus and rail services to be “green,” including 1,500 electric buses and expanded electrified rail services.

Buildings: Reduction by 44-56 pieces

The reduction of emissions from buildings will be driven by the deployment of the national retrofit program, the introduction of district heating in cities, zero-emission heating in commercial buildings and the blending of zero-emission gas for use in the gas network.

By 2030, the government aims to convert 500,000 homes to B2 BER or the cost-optimized equivalent or CO2 equivalent, installing 400,000 heat pumps in existing homes and up to 280,000 in new build. In addition, the goal of 50,000 to 55,000 commercial buildings with emission-free heating and a 50 percent reduction in emissions in public buildings should be achieved.

Industry/Corporate: 29-41 hours. Discount

Targets in this sector are planned to be met by accelerating the uptake of carbon neutral heating in industry, enabling electrification of high temperature heating and phasing out high global warming potential (high GWP) fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). . .

Other measures include zero-emission gas blending and contained carbon reduction in building materials, and a role for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in industrial sectors that are difficult to transition.

By 2030, 80 percent of energy needs for cement production must be met from alternative fuels and waste recycling, 50-60 percent of total fuel needs must be met by CO2-neutral heating, and emissions of high-GWP F-gases must be reduced by 80 percent.

Meanwhile, CCS is deployed at two cement/lime plants to save about 1.5 Mt CO2 equivalent.

Land use, land use change and forestry: 37-58% reduction

In addition to the government’s existing reforestation targets, key actions for the sector include significant rewetting of native peatlands and more efficient grassland management to reduce emissions.

A forestry planting rate target of 8,000 hectares per year (ha/year) has been set by 2030, with deforestation rates to be less than 900 ha/year. 65,000 bogs need to be restored and 450,000 hectares of mineral grassland managed to increase carbon sequestration.

Agriculture: 22-30% discount

The most hotly debated sector ever. The government said the farming targets can be met by increasing the use of greenhouse gas efficient farming practices.

These include reducing fertilizer use and increasing the use of clover and multispecies turf, improving animal husbandry and reducing crude protein in the diet, and fattening animals earlier and increasing the use of organic practices.

The government said these measures will be supported by a research program to bring new technologies and feed additives into operation.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published its “Roadmap for Local Deliberative Engagements on Transitions to Net Zero Carbon and Climate Resilience”.

The report gives a strong warning about the kind of society people will live in if emissions targets are not met.

“The farmer-as-citizen was portrayed as struggling with harsher weather conditions, unfavorable supply chain dynamics and tougher environmental regulations,” the report says. “Increasing isolation and lack of mobility options were seen as key issues for the future farmer.

Professor John Sweeney, a climate change scientist at Maynooth University, said if one sector falls short of its targets, others will be forced to further reduce their emissions.

“I don’t want to paint a picture of doom and gloom for people in terms of societal change, but there’s no doubt that pretty radical changes will be needed,” he said.

“In terms of how we heat our homes, how we drive to work and school, what food we grow and how it is organized. So there are quite a few implications and there are quite a few important decisions to be made.”

However, he said many Irish companies are already making changes to reduce their emissions and he believes there will be more support from the general public, especially as the impact of climate change on the planet becomes more evident.

He added: “There is a lot of pushback from farming. There are 135,000 farms in Ireland, there are 1.17 million households and I think the 1.17 million households are not yet aware of the impact of sectoral budgeting on the scale that it will have.

“But I think the Irish public has also become very aware, particularly through the summer’s events, that they will not be immune to the effects of climate change and therefore I think the majority of the Irish population accepts that the problem is radical needs to be addressed.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/explained-what-the-country-must-do-to-hit-climate-targets-41866580.html Explains: What the country needs to do to achieve the climate goals

Fry Electronics Team

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