Latest greenhouse gas emissions projections show Ireland will comply with Kyoto Protocol without any more purchases
Achieving more stringent 2020 targets will require further reduction measures yet to be identified
Growth in transport emissions projected to slow significantly to 2020 compared with annual growth rates 1990-2008
Carbon sinks (such as increased afforestation) crucial for 2020 target
The EPA today released projected emissions of Ireland’s greenhouse gases up to 2020. These projections, produced on an annual basis, give a picture of Ireland’s ability to meet international targets with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and update those published in March 2009.
The projections are reported on a sectoral basis and highlight, once again, that the key sectors contributing to greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland are agriculture, energy and transport.
Commenting on the projections Dr Mary Kelly, Director General, EPA said:
“National greenhouse gas projections are important in understanding Ireland’s greenhouse gas profile in the medium term, and in assessing the effectiveness of policy measures designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The projections released today reflect the effects of the economic downturn, and the anticipated recovery, based on ESRI economic forecasts. Even with reductions due to the downturn it is projected that Ireland will still be 2.8 million tonnes per annum of CO2e above the non-ETS target in 2020 taking the most ambitious scenarios set out in Government policies and assuming that forestry sinks are fully included.”
Proposals to reintroduce domestic water charges, with new water meters being installed in every home in the State, are to be brought to Government in about two weeks.
The proposals – which were approved in principle as part of the Budget – will be brought forward by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.
However the Minister admitted today it is unlikely that water metering will be in place by June 2012 – which means domestic water charges will not be reintroduced before the next general election.
Mr Gormley acknowledged taht the insisting the charges would be politically unpopular but insisted they were necessary. “I think everybody who understands the environment … they know that this is an absolute necessity,” he said. “You just can’t go putting your head in the sand on these issues any longer. Water is a precious resource.
“All the evidence shows that when you actually charge for water people conserve it, people use it wisely.”
He would not be drawn on how much each of Ireland’s 1.1 million households would be charged but said a speculated figure of €400 per household was wide of the mark. He pointed to other EU countries as a possible indicator.
Mr Gormley revealed his plans as part of his announcement of a “reprioritising” of the €1.8 billion Water Services Investment Programme for the next three years.
The reprioritised programme will now give priority to projects which target environmental compliance issues, in a bid to avoid the imposition of fines by the European Commission, and achieve sustainable supplies.
The Minister stressed Ireland had not yet been fined by the EU for its confirmed breaches of the Water Framework Directive, a feature he said was as a result of the Government’s openness to take whatever remedial steps were necessary.
The programme will also target repairs to the water networks to eliminate waste and protect water basins. It is estimated that “lost” water ranges from 16 per cent to 58 per cent of supplies across the State. The programme provides €320 million over the three year period for remedial works.
A much greater emphasis on water conservation through the introduction of water metering and inducements for householders to cut down on usage, also forms a significant part of the new programme.
Mr Gormley told a press conference today he did not believe it made sense, from an economic or environmental perspective, “to invest in expanding water treatment capacity if there is a significant loss of treated water in damaged or aging networks”.
Mr Gormley said in January the Government intends to raise as much as €1 billion per annum from water metering charges when they are introduced.
Labour today welcomed the investment programme but said it was overdue. The party’s environment spokeswoman Joanna Tuffy said the Government’s approach to investment in water needs to change. “There needs to be a national water strategy rather than the piecemeal approach of the past,” she said.
“The priority of State investment has to reduce the amount of public treated water that is lost through leaks. The other priority has to be bringing waste water treatment facilities up to standard to ensure safe drinking water.
“It raises the question as to how, when the Government was spending up to €500 million per year on water infrastructure projects, our distribution was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair,” Ms Tuffy said.
Hundreds of thousands of travellers face a fourth day of disruption today as the volcanic ash plume continues to drift south and east of Iceland.
The cloud of volcanic ash that has covered much of Northern Europe still is not clearing and it remains unsafe for planes to take to the skies.
The International Civil Aviation Authority says the disruption to air travel is greater than the shutdown of airspace following the 11 September attacks in the US.
The Irish Aviation Authority has extended the closure of Irish airspace to commercial traffic until 1pm tomorrow.
The IAA said: ‘No commercial passenger flights, including North American traffic, will operate from any Irish airport during this period.
‘Met experts are predicting that the prevailing weather conditions will continue in the coming days. Ongoing restrictions are therefore likely.’
The IAA said it has based its decision on the latest reports from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London.
Maurice Mullen of the Department of Transport has said restrictions on air travel are likely to remain for most of this week.
Mr Mullen was speaking after this morning’s meeting of the Government’s task force on emergency planning.
He said Irish embassies and consulates are reporting increased inquiries from Irish citizens stranded overseas, some concerning travel and some concerning financial issues.
He said the Department of Foreign Affairs are now dealing with a number of hardship cases.
Aer Lingus cancels Monday flights
Aer Lingus has confirmed that all UK, European and US flights scheduled to depart tomorrow have been cancelled. This includes Aer Lingus regional flights.
Ryanair was to make a further announcement on flights tomorrow and Tuesday at about 3pm today.
All major airports across northern and central Europe were closed overnight and flight restrictions in Britain have been extended until 7am tomorrow morning.
There has been a surge in demand for bus, rail and ferry services as people try to make it home from holidays.
Meanwhile, the cost to the air travel industry is now expected to rise, as around 17,000 flights were cancelled yesterday and thousands of passengers were left stranded.
Dutch airline KLM has said a test flight it carried out yesterday had revealed no engine damage or other problems from volcanic ash and it would run a further nine test flights.
A spokesman said: ‘We have not found anything unusual and no irregularities, which indicates the atmosphere is clean and safe to fly.’
The European Commission is to set up a group to assess the economic impact of the crisis and said any steps taken across the EU needed to be properly coordinated.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: ‘The volcanic ash cloud has created an unprecedented situation.
‘I have asked (EU Transport Commissioner Siim) Kallas to coordinate the Commission’s response and fully assess the impact of the situation created by the volcanic ash cloud on the economy, and the air travel industry in particular.
‘It is important that all measures to be considered are coordinated at the European level.’
Thousands of passengers at Irish, UK and European airports have been grounded after the eruption of a volcano in Iceland sent a cloud of ash into airspace across northern Europe, halting flights.
UK aviation authorities have closed a number of airports in Scotland and northern England, and both airports in Belfast have also been closed. The ash cloud is forecast to spread southwards towards London during today, causing major disruption.
Flights in Norway and other parts of northern Europe have also been disrupted.
Aer Lingus has issued a statement saying there will be major disruption to its flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Belfast, London Gatwick today.
Ryanair has cancelled all flights to and from the UK, a statement on their website reads: “Ryanair confirms that no further Ryanair flights will operate to or from the UK today (Thursday 15th April ’10) from 09:00.”
British Airways has cancelled all internal UK flights for the whole of today.
The advice to anyone expecting to travel by air today is to check with their airline to see if they are affected.
Forecasters believe the ash could take a number of days to disperse.
Volcanic ash, which consists of the pulverised rock and glass created by the eruptions, can jam aircraft machinery if a plane flies through the plume, shutting down the engines.
Ash can also be can be sucked into the cabin itself, contaminating the passengers’ environment as well as damaging the plane’s electronic systems.
A spokeswoman for easyJet, which has cancelled dozens of flights at Luton and Scottish airports, said: “Following the eruption of a volcano in Iceland yesterday, an ash plume has entered UK and Scandinavian airspace overnight.
“As a result NATS have closed parts of UK airspace and this is causing significant disruption to all airlines due to operate flights to and from the UK today.
“EasyJet passengers are advised to check the website before they leave for the airport for any disruption information.”
Heathrow’s second biggest scheduled airline, bmi, has cancelled all flights between London and Scotland until later today. It said: “We recommend that customers whose journey is not essential book for an alternate date. Customers who have booked and are still intending to travel should consult the flight status page for the latest information.”
Matt Dobson, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “The concern is that as well as the eruption, the jet stream passing through Iceland is passing in a south easterly direction, which will bring ash to the north of Scotland and Denmark and Norway. But it is impossible to say how much ash will come down.
“It could be a threat in these areas from now until tomorrow or Friday.”
A spokesman from Nats said: “The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has issued a forecast that the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland will track over Europe tonight.
“NATS is working with Eurocontrol and our colleagues in Europe’s other air navigation service providers to take the appropriate action to ensure safety in accordance with international aviation policy.”
Weather forecasters said the ash plume could drift over British airspace during the night, causing significant disruption to services.
The movement of the plume, which has been drifting eastwards, is being monitored by both the Met Office and NATS, the air traffic control service.
There have been a number of incidents where aircraft have reported damage from ash, including one involving a British Airways Boeing 747 in June 1982.
The aircraft ran into difficulties after the eruption of a volcano at Galunggung, Indonesia. Ash jammed all four engines briefly, and the aircraft plummeted 24,000 feet before they could be restarted.
Because of the threat to aviation, a global early warning system, known as the International Airways Volcano Watch, has been established. Iceland is considered as particularly vulnerable to volcanic disruption.
Authorities there yesterday evacuated 800 residents from around the Eyjafjallajokull glacier as water gushed down the mountainside and rivers rose by up to 10 feet (3 meters).
The Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted for the first time in 200 years on March 20, in a dramatic display that sent fountains of lava spewing into the air.
The first eruption did not trigger any major flooding, as was initially feared, because the active vents were in a mainly ice-free part of the volcano.
But Tuesday’s eruption came from a different vent beneath a 650-ft (200m) thick block of ice, unleashing a torrent of glacial meltwater.
– Government announces €5,000 incentive for electric vehicles
– ESB to roll out 3,500 charge points and 30 fast charge points
– Renault-Nissan Alliance to provide Ireland with supply of electric cars
DUBLIN (April 12, 2010), The Irish Government, the ESB and the Renault-Nissan Alliance today announced a comprehensive partnership to position Ireland as a European leader in electric transport.
Today’s Definitive Agreement includes the development of a nationwide electric car charging infrastructure by ESB, the supply of electric cars by the Renault-Nissan Alliance from 2011, as well as Government policies and incentives that will support the widespread adoption of such vehicles.
Those who purchase electric cars can avail of the €5,000 grant, which the Irish Government announced today. Irish buyers of electric vehicles will be exempt from Vehicle Registration Tax.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan described today’s announcement as on-the-ground delivery of Government policy. “The Programme for Government announced our intention to transform the Irish energy and transport sectors. We have made great strides in renewable energy, energy efficiency and now we begin the electrification of our transport fleet.
The Irish Government’s target is for 10% of Ireland’s vehicles to be electric by 2020. Today’s Agreement with Nissan-Renault will see 2,000 cars on Irish roads by 2011. This keeps us firmly on track to achieve, if not exceed, our goals.
Those purchasing an electric vehicle will be grant aided by the Government to the tune of €5,000 and exempt from VRT. The ESB will provide the charging infrastructure in the homes of the new owners of electric cars.
Irish motorists can look forward to the cash, cars and charging points that will make the electric car the smart choice for the Irish motorist.”
Under the agreement, ESB will roll out 3,500 charge points nationwide by December 2011. The rollout has already begun in Dublin and charging points will also be installed in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick. ESB also plans to install 30 fast charge points across Ireland by the end of 2011, with nine expected to be set up by the end of this year.
ESB Chief Executive Padraig McManus described today’s announcement “as another important milestone on the road to develop an emissions-free transport system.”
“ESB is currently rolling out a nationwide infrastructure to support the widespread use of electric cars. Ireland will be one of the first countries in the world to have a nationwide electric charging network which will offer opportunities for enterprise and job creation, as well as the obvious environmental benefits of ultimately having a decarbonised transport fleet” he said.
Nissan will supply its all-electric, five-seater LEAF hatchback to Ireland in early 2011 while Renault will launch its light commercial electric vehicle, Kangoo Z.E., later in the year. By the end of 2011, Renault will also supply 100 pre-production Fluence Z.E.s for a pilot project in Ireland. Fluence Z.E., an electric sedan for both private and professional use, will go on sale in Ireland in 2012.
All three vehicles will be fitted with the latest generation of lithium-ion batteries produced by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture between Nissan, NEC and NEC Tonkin.
Philippe Klein, executive vice president of planning and control at Renault SAS, said: “The Renault-Nissan Alliance’s commitment to the global mass marketing of electric vehicles requires the close cooperation of many partners around the world. . Thanks to Ireland’s determination to be a leader in electric mobility transport, the necessary conditions – including incentives and infrastructure – are being put in place in this country to allow for the successful adoption of electric vehicles in the near future.”
Pierre Loing, vice president of product strategy and planning of Nissan International SA and head of the company’s zero emission business unit in Europe, said: “Renault and Nissan look forward to providing Irish customers with affordable, all-electric vehicles that are built to the same high standards in terms of performance, roominess, comfort and quality that customers expect from both brands.”
ESB is designing an infrastructure that will ensure open access to all car manufacturers and all energy suppliers. Trials and pilots will be conducted by ESB to test the infrastructure and collect the data necessary to examine driving trends, usage patterns as well as the new electric car lifestyle experience.
Today’s Definitive Agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the three parties last April to study the promotion of electric vehicles in Ireland.
“Nissan Ireland is delighted to be part of such an historic occasion for the motor industry in Ireland and Europe. We look forward to delivering a new and emission-free driving experience to Irish customers with Nissan’s electric vehicles starting with LEAF in early 2011,” said Gerard O’Toole, chairman of Nissan Ireland.
Eric Basset, managing director of Renault Ireland, said: “Due to its relatively small size, Ireland is ideally suited for the introduction of electric vehicles and as a pilot for the rest of Europe, As the population of Ireland is predominantly centered around the major urban areas of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, and with the average vehicle covering approximately 75 km per day, electric vehicles are ideally suited to address the every day needs of both private and business use.”
Renault and Nissan are among the leaders in development of pure electric vehicles and together have announced global production capacity of 500,000 units per year. To date, the Alliance has entered into more than 50 partnerships worldwide with countries, cities, organisations and other key stakeholders to prepare the markets and infrastructure for the successful adoption of electric vehicles around the world.
Financial incentives to encourage motorists to purchase electric cars are expected to be announced today.
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan will announce incentives that will help offset the cost of expensive electric batteries.
The details emerge as some of the electric vehicles that will soon be available to the Irish market are showcased.
The Government wants Ireland to become an effective test site for electric cars, with a goal that 10% of all vehicles run on electricity by 2020.
Last year, the Government signed a strategic deal with Nissan Renault and this morning, Renault will showcase its new electric vehicle, the Fluence.
The ESB has already committed to installing 1,500 charging points across the country before the end of next year.
Source: rte news