DAYS before the release of the next incarnation of the national climate action plan, we have another reminder of how critical its content and implementation will be.
It comes in the form of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s annual Energy in Ireland report – 160 pages of statistics, charts, thorough analysis and careful forecasting of the country’s energy consumption.
Not to break the heart of statisticians and modelers, but it could be summed up in a few pithy, alarming statements.
Fossil fuels are embedded in every part of our society and economy.
We have not severed the links between economic growth and increasing use of fossil fuels.
We are running out of time to change the first and second points.
We can add a few stats for flavor. Fossil fuels—oil, gas, and coal—powered 86 percent of our electricity, transportation, and heating last year.
If we only look at traffic, the dependency on petrol and diesel was 95.5%.
Yes, while there are more electric vehicles on the roads and more heat pumps in homes, the progress being made is tiny compared to the task at hand.
The report shows that we slip into old patterns extremely quickly when our new approach hits a bump.
It was a low-wind year last year, so the amount of renewable electricity available had dropped to about 36 percent when it had hovered steadily above 40 percent.
Opportunities to settle differences were neither numerous nor attractive.
Faced with a shortage of gas-fired power generation capacity, we increased production at Moneypoint, the coal-fired power plant that was in the process of being wound down and was scheduled to close in 2025.
Coal is the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and something that seemed to have become a thing of the past as a major energy producer here.
For all the talk of a work-from-home revolution, we’ve returned to the office in very large numbers.
Despite all the moaning about skyrocketing petrol and diesel prices, we couldn’t loosen our steering wheels.
Slipping into old habits means that the goals of the climate plan and, more importantly, the legally binding climate protection law and annual carbon budgets are out of reach.
The new climate plan has been touted as a mechanism to accelerate action, but it’s difficult to accelerate something when it’s not already in motion, and even more difficult when it’s moving backwards.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/slipping-back-into-old-habits-makes-emission-targets-harder-to-reach-42219661.html Falling back into old habits makes it harder to meet emissions targets