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.

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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).

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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