The EPA has published (June 4) its Ireland’s Air Pollutant Emissions 1990 -2030 Report which provides details of emissions of air pollutants in Ireland in the period 1990 to 2018 and projected emissions of these pollutants for 2020 and 2030.
The report focuses on the five key pollutants with emission ceilings (limits) for which Ireland has compliance commitments under the National Emissions Ceiling Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/22843. These pollutants are Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Ammonia (NH3), Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOCs) and Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5). The EPA has produced emissions projections for these five pollutants, to indicate the likelihood of future compliance with emissions ceilings.
Assessment of Targets
- Ireland exceeded its emission ceiling for ammonia (NH3), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) in 2018.
- For NH3, Ireland has now exceeded its ceiling for three years in a row – 2016, 2017 and 2018, as a result of continued increases in the national herd and fertiliser nitrogen use.
- Ireland is availing of the flexibilities allowed in National Emission Ceilings Directive to achieve compliance with the targets for NOx and NMVOC as the emission of these pollutants exceed the ceilings due to the use of better scientific data, which was unavailable when the limits were set.
- Emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) are currently well below emission ceilings and continue to decrease. This is largely due to the switch to lower sulphur content in fuels in electricity generation and transport.
- For NOx, the main driver is transport, in particular diesel fuelled vehicles despite improvements in engine technology. Agriculture is also a significant source as a result of nitrogen in manure, fertilisers and dung and urine deposition on soil.
- For NMVOC, the main drivers are agriculture, and the food and beverage industry, in particular distillation for spirit production.
- Agriculture accounts for over 99% of national NH3 emissions.
- Particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions increased marginally in 2018, mainly due to increased heating requirements in homes and buildings.
- For 2030, NMVOC and NH3 are projected to be in non compliance with emission ceilings and will require additional measures over and above those outlined in the Climate Action Plan.
- The EU may take infringement proceedings against Ireland for non compliance with agreed emission ceilings.
- Complying with the NOx ceiling will require full implementation of Climate Action Plan, including meeting electric vehicle targets.
- For 2030 emissions of PM2.5 are projected to be in compliance with the emission ceiling.
- Emissions of SO2 will continue to remain below the emission ceilings for future years.
Source – EPA