A significant increase in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions last year highlights the need to break the link between growth and emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency has said.
The transport sector was one of the only sectors to increase emissions in 2022, while overall emissions decreased by nearly 2%. The news comes as it was reported last week that the average temperature in the world reached new highs three times in seven days.
The EPAs said that the increase in transport emissions “as the Covid rebound continues” followed a similar increase in 2021.
A statement from the EPA said: “Overall higher transport activity – both private cars and freight transport – is eroding the impact of electric vehicles.” Emissions in transport in 2022 were still 4.6 per cent below the pre-pandemic level seen in 2019.
Mary Frances Rochford, programme manager at the EPA, said: “Current decarbonisation actions are being outpaced by increased energy demand across the economy and dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation.”
She added: “A significant increase in Transport emissions in 2022 highlights the fact that a growing economy, with high employment, will continue to produce emissions if we do not break the link and decouple emissions from increased activity by using cleaner and alternatives sources of energy.”
Laura Burke, director general of the EPA said: “An overall emissions reduction is welcome, and it is encouraging to see the impact of action across key economic sectors. Drivers for this reduction were higher fossil fuel prices and associated behavioural change, more renewable energy, and the impact of regulation such as the nationwide ban on smoky fuels in home heating.”
She added: “While welcome, this decrease in emissions needs to be significantly ramped up. We need faster progress on the actions set out in national climate action plans to decarbonise and transform all sectors of Ireland’s economy, to stay within National Carbon Budgets and reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions by 51 per cent by 2030.”
The EPA said that in 2022, there were 72,000 battery electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) which is around 37 per cent of the Climate Action Plan target for 2025.