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Roche should worry about costs of Kyoto not Mahon

16 Feb 2007

Ireland faces 500 million euro bill for climate failure

Today's EPA report on Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions is a damning indictment of the Government's climate change policies, according to Friends of the Earth. The figures indicate that Ireland faces a bill of more than 500 million euro for pollution permits to cover our Kyoto overshoot between now and 2012 [see Note below].

Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, said

"Minister Roche should be more concerned about the costs of our Kyoto failure rather than the Mahon tribunal. Today's spiralling transport emissions are a direct result of yesterday's bad planning. Dublin has become a byword for urban sprawl and car dependency. Now we know Ireland faces a 500 million euro bill for pollution permits. It's a waste of taxpayers' money as the obligation to cut our emissions is just carried forward to the next phase of Kyoto."

"This Government signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and agreed to a 13% limit for our pollution growth. They are quick to agree that Kyoto is only a first step and bigger pollution cuts will be needed in future. And yet 10 years on our emissions have increased by twice what we promised and are still rising. Three Ministers for the Environment - Demspey, Cullen and Roche - have all failed to convince the Government to take the issue seriously. The National Climate Change Strategy was effectively shelved. A new one is long overdue. But unless it contains a radical departure from the failed policies of the last 10 years it will do nothing to halt the rise in Ireland's emissions", Mr Coghlan added.

Today's EPA report shows Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions for 2005 to be 70 million tonnes (MT), 7 million tonnes over our Kyoto target of 63 MT. If that were repeated for the five years of the first committment phase under Kyoto (2008-12) Ireland's overshoot would be 35 MT. The Government estimates that the price of a permit for one tonne of carbon will be 15 euro. Ireland's total bill will therefore be at least 525 million euro over the five years. About eur150 million of that will be spent by Irish businesses in the EU trading scheme, with the cost passed on to consumers. The rest, at least 375 million, will be bought by Government, with the cost passed on to the taxpayer. That's already 100 million more the Government put aside for pollution permits in last December's budget.

These estimates are conservative for two reasons: Irish emissions are still rising so unless urgent action is taken our Kyoto overshoot may be higher, and the cost of carbon in the period 2008-2012 may well rise. In the past the price has been as high as 30 euro a tonne, twice the Government's prediction.

Download the EPA report here.

Read the EPA Press Release here.

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