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Hearing date confirmed for Climate Case Ireland!

The hearing date for Ireland’s climate case was confirmed in the High Court this week. The case will be heard over four days at the Four Courts in Dublin, beginning on Tuesday 22 January 2019. Please note the dates in your diary – all welcome!

The news comes as Ireland’s EPA last week revealed its latest projections regarding Ireland’s climate emissions:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to increase from most sectors, given strong economic growth and an expansion of the agriculture sector.
  • These figures show that, at best, Ireland will only achieve a 1% reduction by 2020 (against 2005) compared to a target of 20%. While the EPA uses a 2005 baseline, using instead the 1990 baseline used by the UNFCCC, Ireland’s emissions are projected to increase by 11-12% between 1990 and 2020. This compares to a required reduction over this period of between 25-40% to help avert dangerous climate change, as acknowledged repeatedly by the Irish Government.
  • Fossil fuels such as coal and peat are expected to continue to be significant contributors to emissions from power generation.
  • Agriculture emissions are projected to increase with an expansion of animal numbers, particularly for the dairy herd.
  • Further growth in emissions from the transport sector is projected in line with a growth in fuel consumption in diesel cars and freight up to 2025.

The EPA comments: “In relation to 2030, Ireland’s target calls for a 30 per cent reduction of emissions compared to 2005, with binding annual limits over the 2021-2030 period. These latest projections indicate that Ireland will exceed the allowable carbon budget implied by those limits by between 47-52Mt over the period, even assuming the allowed-for flexibilities are fully used.

The latest projections show that increasing fossil fuel consumption and an expanding agriculture sector are leading to increased emissions. In particular,

  • Energy industry emissions – mainly power generation – are projected to grow strongly from 2020 to 2025 as a result of an expansion of co-firing of peat and biomass;
  • Transport emissions are projected to increase from current levels by 17-18 per cent by 2020 and by 17-20 per cent by 2030.  A decline in emissions is projected from 2025 to 2030, resulting from an acceleration in the number of electric vehicles on Irish roads;
  • Agriculture emissions are projected to increase by between 3-4 per cent by 2020 and 6-7 per cent by 2030 on current levels based on an expansion of animal numbers, particularly for the dairy herd.”

These figures are a shocking indictment of current policies, which place all of us in unnecessary danger.

The Citizens’ Assembly has called overwhelmingly for ambitious climate action. It is essential that politicians do not lag behind public expectations on this issue. We must act ambitiously now, before it is too late. Millions of lives are at stake.