There needs to be a “rapid increase” of the use of newer fertilisers in agriculture in order for the sector to help Ireland slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Climate Change Advisory Council chair Marie Donnelly has said.
This surge in use, along with the acceleration of the rollout of solar power on commercial and public sector buildings and a continued reduction in public transport fares to support a modal shift and behavioural change, would have an immediate impact on emissions, she said.
Donnelly was reacting to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions projections to 2030, which show that Ireland is set to miss its targets by a significant margin.
Agriculture will miss its targets by 5%.
'Scale of the challenge'
The projections lay “bare the scale of the challenge that Ireland faces if we are to remain within our carbon budgets”, Donnelly said.
“Growth in our population and the economy is very positive, but it must take place in a way that decouples this growth from emissions.
“We need to decarbonise the economy and society, at greater speed and scale, while ensuring there is a just transition,” she added.
She said the Government needs to set out credible and detailed implementation plans to enable us to achieve our ambitious targets.
“Every sector of the economy is required to play its part, with support being provided by Government to the most vulnerable people in communities throughout Ireland.
“We have seen significant progress in the reductions of emissions when the Government has set out, implemented and financially supported the delivery of transformational measures such as the National Retrofitting Scheme. We need to see this approach taken across all sectors.
“Each sector needs a detailed emissions trajectory now, setting out how the sectoral emissions ceilings will be achieved, including resolution of the outstanding issues regarding unallocated savings and the land use sector,” she said.
Donnelly said that while the projections have illustrated that Ireland has a much stronger story to tell in respect of its climate ambition than a few short years ago, “we must urgently resolve the remaining policy gaps and move on swiftly to implementation”.