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Ireland no closer to meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets – AMBER Comments

30 May 2024

The EPA report highlighting the potential shortfalls in our mandated climate goals is concerning and the lack of any significant progress in the last 12 months alarming. With a climate emissions reduction of between 11% (i.e. likely to be achieved) and 29% (best case scenario with large proportion of needed actions as of yet unidentified) we are in serious danger of paying penalties of the order of 10 billion Euro, funding that would and should be spent trying to meet the goals.

With only 5.5 years to our 2030 deadline, it now seems certain that Ireland will fall well short of our own goals and our EU and International targets. The Irish Government’s reaction to these projections in claiming the EPA models do not account for future (and unnamed measures) suggests that the strategy, the knowledge needed, commitment and planning to accelerate a zero carbon economy transition are missing. The energy transition has stalled due to issues such as planning/permissions, investment and materials shortages. The underspending on research related to the climate impacts and sustainability of materials and the progression towards a zero emission manufacturing sector was highlighted in a recent paper by authored by AMBER and Economist Jim Power with a call to form a national stakeholder group for advanced materials to define Irelands strategy for this sector informed by our Climate, Innovation and enterprise polices.

An action plan to address the very low level of materials circularity and recycling within the state, poor waste reduction and recovery programmes and the need for a total energy reduction and the de-carbonisation of our manufacturing sector needs to be prioritised through policy interventions and investment. The Government’s over reliance on private sector investment (coupled to lack of national funding) to provide the disruptive changes needed to meet climate targets highlights policy and policy development that do not recognize the degree of change needed and the scale of investment, both financial and human, to implement that change. A new strategy for investment, education, research as well as national advisory council is desperately needed if the changes needed are to be delivered.

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