14% increase in Ireland’s transport emissions in the last three years

— Government called on to fund cycling, walking and public transport

Ireland’s energy system has “started along the decarbonisation path”, but the transport sector has shown a 14% increase in emissions in the last three years, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has said.

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Dr Eimear Cotter, head of low carbon technologies at the SEAI said: “There is a clear need now to accelerate action in the context of renewed economic growth. This is true for all sectors and in particular the transport sector which has shown a 14% increase in emissions in the last three years. Energy-related CO2 emissions per capita in Ireland are above the European average which shows that we still have some way to go to decarbonise our energy system and deliver the multiple benefits for Ireland.”

The SEAI said transport accounted for the largest share of energy-related CO2 emissions, with a share of 37% in 2015. Transport emissions peaked in 2007 then fell rapidly during the economic downturn up to 2012, a fall of 28%, before rising again by 14% up to 2015.

According to seprate estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency, when non-energy sectors are included — such as agriculture and waste — transport amounts to around 21% of Ireland’s total emission. A mix of growth in transport emission and decarbonisation of other areas is expected to push transport to 27% of Ireland’s emissions by 2020.

Eamon Ryan, the leader of the Green Party, said the Government needs to get serious about reversing our emissions output and complying with the Paris climate change agreement.

He said: “The scale of the climate change challenge facing us is growing by the day. While we are committing to cutting greenhouse gases in the Paris Agreement, the reality is that our climate emissions are once again on the rise.”

“The Government says it wants to make the change to a cleaner economy but they are doing nothing to make that switch happen. Our transport emissions are rising fast because we are not funding public transport, cycling and walking,” said Ryan.

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