As COP21 enters the final negotiation stage in Paris this week let’s have a quick look at Ireland’s historic Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) and projections out to 2035. In contrast to the optimism in Paris this week, Ireland’s story makes for stark reading, see animation here.
The animation was put together by UCC PhD researchers Tomás Mac Uidhir and Eamonn Mulholland and shows time-lapse emissions by sectors based on EPA data. The projected data was taken from what is called the ‘With Measures’ Scenario which assumes that no additional policies and measures, beyond those already in place by the end of 2013, are in place. It is a worst case scenario and reflects what may happen in the absence of strong action on emissions reduction. The contrast between the images is a reminder of the challenges facing Ireland. Can you pick out the impact of the Celtic Tiger and subsequent recession? Notice the strong growth in emissions particularly in Transport. This is a sector along with Agriculture that needs urgent attention.
In the period 1990 – 2005, Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions grew by about 25% in contrast to overall EU emission which dropped by 8%. This presents major challenges for Ireland as emissions reduction targets for Heat, Transport and Agriculture are referenced against 2005 and not 1990.
Above all, we must remember that at EU level we are talking about an overall GHG emissions reduction of 80% (and potentially higher up to 95%) relative to 1990…under the scenario presented above we are 16% over 1990 levels and even looking at the EPA best case scenario where we meet all current policy objectives we only come in at 2% under 1990 levels. A full description of both scenarios and associated assumptions can be found here
Tomás’ research focuses on energy efficiency pathways across the economy. This work involves the construction of a sector specific emissions model for Ireland using the Long-range Energy Alternative Planning system (LEAP).
Eamonn’s research focuses on the mapping of long-term low carbon policy and technology pathways in the transport sector using a combination of simulation and optimisation energy models.