Pandemic CO2 reduction is “minimum required annually” EPA warns

— CO2 emissions linked to transport down 17% in 2020, EPA estimates.

Ireland’s total CO2 emission reduction of 6% in 2020 is the minimum which will be required annually, the Environmental Protection Agency has warned.

Overall reductions were down 6% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to an estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

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An EPA press release that short term emissions reductions due to the pandemic “do not negate the need for targeted and sustained action across all sectors”.

The EPA said: “The Transport sector saw the biggest impact as a result of the severe movement restrictions due to COVID, both in absolute and percentage terms. Emissions from the Transport sector in 2020 are estimated to be over 2 Mt CO2eq less than 2019, a fall of almost 17%. For the year to the end of November, petrol consumption was down 27 per cent compared to 2019, and diesel consumption was down 15 per cent.”

It said: “Emissions from the transport sector are estimated to be over 2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2eq) lower than last year, a fall of almost 17 per cent.”

Laura Burke, director general of the EPA, said: “We are at a pivotal point for our economy, and the recovery steps we take now will shape Ireland for the next decade. While these early estimates show a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 as a result of Covid restrictions, this level of emission reductions, at a minimum, will be required annually.”

Burke said: “Ireland needs a ‘green recovery’ to rebuild our economy, generate new jobs and respond to climate change. As we emerge from the global pandemic, a ‘green’ stimulus and implementation of ambitious policies and measures can deliver Ireland’s current and future commitments to a climate-neutral economy and climate-resilient society by 2050.”

She added: “The emissions reductions in 2020 must be built on to achieve continual, substantial, year-on-year reductions, making the 2020’s the decade of climate action.”

READ MORE: Impact on 2020 greenhouse gas emissions of Covid-19 restrictions

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