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EU’s ambitious carbon plan locks Ireland into even bigger emission cuts

emissionsEU’s ambitious carbon plan locks Ireland into even bigger emission cuts

Ireland’s better-than-expected economic growth has landed the Government with tougher carbon-reduction targets under the EU’s latest climate plan – ‘Fit for 55’.  Emissions from transport, heating, agriculture, waste and from small industry will have to come down by 42pc by 2030 instead of 30pc (on 2005 levels). Otherwise the Government could face EU fines.  The targets were increased for all 27 member states to help the EU meet its pledge to reduce emissions by 55pc by 2030 instead of 40pc.

Irish business group Ibec said the “principle of reform is welcome”, but added that the legislation needs to reflect “Ireland’s unique issues”.  “The scope of the reforms proposed today is unprecedented, with nearly every sector of society impacted in some way,” said Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy, who pledged to work with companies and the EU to deliver a “cost-effective transition to carbon neutrality”.

The European Commission tabled 13 draft laws to help it reach its 55pc emission reduction target, all of which are based on increasing the price of carbon use.  An import levy on energy-intensive products will push up the price of cement, fertiliser, steel, aluminium, and electricity bought from non-EU countries with lower emissions standards.

The European Commission also wants to end tax breaks on fossil fuels.

Fears abound that the plans – part of what the Commission called a “really epic” legislative overhaul – could push up the price of heating, petrol and many consumer goods.  “Our current fossil fuel economy has reached its limits,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “Emission of CO₂ must have a price – a price on CO₂ that incentivises consumers, producers and innovators to choose clean technologies.”

Shipping, housing and road transport will be brought under the EU’s emissions trading system, capping heavy industry’s ability to pollute, and phasing out free carbon permits from 2026.

Measures to promote clean fuels and zero-emission vehicles will effectively price petrol and diesel cars out of existence, despite strong opposition from France.

Aviation and shipping firms will also have to switch to greener fuels, such as renewable hydrogen or ammonia, though the bloc has stopped short of banning liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The EU hopes to get poorer countries and citizens onside by setting up a €72bn “climate action social facility” – part-funded by the sale of carbon permits – to help people buy cleaner cars, add solar panels to their homes or pay for public transport.

Source – Irish Independent  |  Image by Markus Distelrath:

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