A better understanding of Ireland’s Carbon Footprint

Ireland’s daily GHG emissions

A short animation showing Ireland’s daily emissions as a large pile of one tonne carbon dioxide bubbles beside the Poolbeg towers in Dublin bay.

The Environmental Protection Agency compiles Ireland’s annual greenhouse gas emission inventories and projections, which allows the Government to assess progress against key targets, report to the European Commission and UNFCCC and informs policy development and mitigation measures.

It also aims to provide up-to-date scientific information to a wide range of audiences, from policymakers to the general public.

This simple visual would help to get more people engaged in the issue.

The data source for this visualisation is the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2012 which calculates annual emissions from Agriculture, Energy, Transport, Industry and commercial, Residential and Waste sectors, and was released in 2014.

Each sphere represents one tonne of greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide equivalent – Co2(e). Greenhouse gases other than CO2 (i.e. methane, nitrous oxide and so-called F-gases) may be converted to CO2 equivalent using their global warming potentials.

For 2012, Ireland’s total national greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be 58,531,238 tonnes or 160,359 tonnes per day.

Carbon dioxide gas at 15 °C and standard pressure has a density of 1.87 kg/m3. At standard pressure and 15 °C a metric ton of carbon dioxide gas would fill a sphere approximately 10 metres across.  The video shows a pile of 160,359 spheres 10 metres in diameter located near the Poolbeg Towers in Dublin Bay, with the city behind.

Source: http://www.carbonvisuals.com/projects/2015/6/22/irelands-carbon-footprint?rq=ireland


Ireland to miss EU GHG reduction targets

Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets to 2020
  • Ireland is unlikely to meet 2020 EU greenhouse gas emission targets for sectors including  agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, non-energy intensive industry and waste;
  • Ireland’s emission reduction target is 20% below 2005 levels by 2020: EPA projections indicate that emissions will be 6 – 11% below 2005 levels by 2020;
  • Agriculture and transport are projected to account for over three-quarters of Ireland’s non-Emissions Trading Scheme emissions in 2020:  agriculture (47%), transport (29%);
  • Current and planned policies and measures are not sufficient to meet the 2020 targets.

You can read here the updated bulletin on Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections to 2020.

Full press release: http://www.epa.ie/newsandevents/news/name,59044,en.html#.Vt2nxVuLTIU


Story of Stop the Study Campaign

The Timeline of the Campaign

September: Visit to fracking areas and information from EPA on CDM Smith and AMEC involvement in study .
October: Campaign starts to raise awareness of CDM Smith links with oil/gas industry
November: Rally in front of Leinster House and Presentations to Oireachtas members
December: Joint Oireachtas Committee grills EPA for 3 hours.  Ban Fracking Bill introduced to Dáil Eireann.  Minister McHugh requests interim report
February: Report on Study stalled: Phase 1 to be published Q3 of this year; no decision on Phase 2.

For more detail of the campaign events, CLICK HERE

This was a completely cross-party campaign.

The main Oireachtas player was Sinn Féin TD Michael Colreavy, who put a lot of work into the campaign against fracking from the start and into this campaign in particular. Michael was instrumental in getting us the room in Leinster House, also (with Paschal Mooney) in calling the EPA before the JOC in December. He also ensured that he was briefed properly before each event. Michael was very insistent that the campaign was cross-party.
Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin supported the campaign by asking Parliamentary Questions and arranged one meeting with Minister McHugh.
Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney, also a member of the JOC, was very supportive during the campaign, especially in arranging the presence of EPA at the Meeting in December.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett grilled the EPA with great effect and introduced a Ban Fracking Bill to the Oireachtas, thus increasing awareness of fracking among the politicians nationally. Clare Daly TD was also effective from the floor of the Dáil.
The Stop the Study Campaign workers acknowledge the support given by all of the above, without which its success could not have been achieved.

The Study has indeed been stopped. Forever? Who knows! Without this campaign, the tenders for on-the-ground monitoring would be awarded by now. But the campaign doesn’t end here. In the Press Release (6th Feb), it was stated that the campaign against fracking is not over, only legislation will prevent fracking from ever coming to Ireland. Our challenge now is to ensure that such legislation is drafted by the next government and gets cross-party support. Let 2016 be the year that Ireland officially bans fracking!


Good news – it’s official!

The EPA Research Study on Fracking is now stopped. This study was targeted by the campaign against fracking as research showed the study was compromised – it was being led by companies with huge vested interests in the oil and gas industry. A statement from the Department (DCENR) yesterday (2nd) confirmed that the study has been stopped after its first phase, which included an overall look at regulations and legislation governing fracking. Phase 2, on-the-ground studies in Leitrim and Fermanagh which would have included some drilling, will not proceed and a report of Phase 1 will be published in Q3 of this year.

“GEAI is delighted with this news. Before Christmas, Minister Joe McHugh, who has responsibility for Natural Resources, said that he had requested an interim report from the EPA. It is great news that this has been confirmed. Basically, the study is stalled and, moreover, it is unlikely to proceed in the future – we understand that the contract with the lead research contractor – CDM Smith – finishes in August this year, two years from signing.

However, the campaign does not end. Now we will push for legislation that will ensure that fracking is never introduced into Ireland – the last hurdle. We are launching the “SIGN THE PLEDGE” campaign on Friday – asking all candidates to sign a pledge to support legislation to ban fracking in Ireland permanently.”

Irish Climate Change Advisory Council launched

Another talk shop or a body with teeth?

19 January 2016: The order legally establishing the Climate Change Advisory Council was signed by the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, TD, on the 18th of January.  The important work of the Council commenced, on an interim basis, in June 2015 and it has already held two preliminary meetings.

The Council is an independent advisory body which will act to assess and advise on how Ireland is making the transition to a low emission climate resilient society and economy.  The roles of the Council include:

  • Assessment of progress in meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets to 2020 as well as those that are expected to be agreed shortly at EU level for 2030.
  • Advising on the most effective policies to make the longer term transition to a carbon free economy.
  • Advising on how best to respond to the impacts of climate change.

The Council will provide annual progress reports, and more comprehensive periodic reports on a less frequent basis. The first annual report (for 2016) will be published early in 2017.

The Paris Agreement, which received unprecedented global support at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting during December, provides a global context for the establishment of the Council.

GEAI welcomes this initiative, which is long overdue, and appreciates the breadth of expertise among the appointed members. We also appreciate the fact that vested interests are not included in the membership and that we can expect an independent overview of Government action on Climate Change.
However, we are disappointed that there is no community representation on the Council, an absence that could result in a more theoretical than practical approach to its discourse. We also query the plan that, even though the council has been active since June 2015 and has had two meetings already, there will not be an Annual report till 2017. Why this delay? Even publication in Q4 of this year would make the work of the Council more relevant.
Having said all the above, GEAI welcomes the launch of the Climate Change Advisory Council and looks forward to the first report of this body on this crucial global issue.



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