carbon Archives - Desmond Gibbons & Co.

Ireland has spent €86.8m on carbon credits to meet emissions targets

Ireland has spent €86.8m on carbon credits to meet emissions targets

Ireland’s approach to reducing carbon emissions is a “charade” that is costing millions annually as it is buying carbon credits from other countries to “pretend we are coming in under target”, according to the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.

Seán Fleming said it was “horrific” that €86.8m of Irish taxpayers’ money had been spent purchasing carbon credits from other countries and labelled it “gross hypocrisy”.

A spokesman for the Government said that the €86m was spent on carbon credits in 2008 and 2009.

It has also emerged that Ireland could have to pay €60m to “buy our way out of pretending” we are meeting renewable energy targets.

Additionally, the Department of the Environment estimates that Irish taxpayers face paying between €6m and €13m to buy more unused carbon credits so Ireland can meet its EU 2020 climate targets.

The details are contained in a letter, dated 10 June, from Mark Griffin, Secretary General of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, to the PAC.

Mr Fleming explained that the committee asked the department for an information note on the costs the State will face for not meeting the 2020 Climate Action targets and when these costs will be due.

He said: “The State’s response, all of our response at Oireachtas and Government level, is entirely hypocritical when you read this letter.”

The letter said that “the EU requires member states to meet their targets using unused emission credits from earlier years or to purchase credits from other member states via international markets”.

Mr Fleming said: “In simple English, if we don’t meet our targets we can buy our way out of the problem by buying unused emissions from somewhere else. It’s the biggest act of gross hypocrisy when it comes to the environment.

“We are saying that if we don’t meet our targets we will buy unused emission credits from somebody else and pay the price so that when we come to the end of the 2020 target, we are below our target because we have unused credits in the system.”

The National Treasury Management Association purchases these on behalf of the State.

“And on behalf of the State the NTMA has already spent €86.8m of Irish taxpayers’ money purchasing these credits which is horrific. And that is to avoid a fine,” Mr Fleming said.

The PAC also asked the department about Ireland’s prospects of meeting its Climate 2020 targets.

The letter states: “The department currently estimates that the additional costs of this requirement to be in the region of €6-€13m between now and then if we don’t meet the additional costs.”

On renewable energy targets, the department said: “We have a target of 16% renewable energy by 2020. We have increased a lot from 2005 when we were at just 3%.”

They are expecting to reach somewhere in the order of 13% by 2020.

The letter went on to say that “some years ago the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland estimated that we could buy our way out of that problem at a cost of anywhere between €65m and €130m.

“However in 2017, trade between Luxembourg, Lithuania and Estonia suggested the costs of the order of €22.5m per percentage point below our 16% target.

“So if we are 3% below our target, it could cost us, based on those prices, another €60m to buy our way out of pretending we are meeting environmental targets.”

Mr Fleming concluded: “I want everyone who has an interest in the environment to know that it is a charade what we are doing in this country. We are buying unused credit emissions from other countries to balance our books and pretend we are coming in under target. We are doing nothing of the sort.”

He said that the State should not have to spend taxpayers’ money to buy our way out of these problems. “We should be doing the right thing in the first place,” he said.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton had previously said that it was likely to cost the State up to €150m to pay for carbon credits ahead of the 2020 deadline.

Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland, Oisín Coghlan, said the revelations show “that the cost of inaction will always be greater than the cost of action”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, he said the Government “has a chance to put things right” in its forthcoming climate action plan to “show how we try to make up some ground between now and 2020 and much more ground from 2030” or face fines or costs of between €2bn-€6bn if it does not meet our 2030 targets.

Mr Coghlan called for the plan to include four key measures: the target adopted to reduce carbon emissions is placed in law, the introduction of five-year carbon budgets that are adopted by the Dáil, a strong Climate Change Council to monitor the Government, and a strong parliamentary committee for carbon emissions.

Article Source: Click Here

Major Irish firms claim significant progress on carbon reduction target

Major Irish firms claim significant progress on carbon reduction target

A new report claims that 47 major Irish firms have already made significant progress in meeting a carbon reduction target initially set for 2030.

The pledge was made as part of the Business in the Community Ireland group – and sees the likes of Diageo, Musgraves and Ornua aim to cut their carbon intensity by 50% by 2030.

According to a report by PwC published this morning, the average cut achieved in the first year was 36%.

Carbon intensity takes a company’s size and activity into account and is not a straight measurement of pollution levels.

However Tomás Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland, says it helps capture the progress of firms that may be enjoying rapid growth – and is a good first step for measuring their environmental impact.

“The challenge that we have ahead of us in terms of climate resilience is about decoupling economic growth from emissions,” he said. “What we really wanted to get across here was a starting point; a level of ambition, and then look at how we can reduce this going forward.”

However the report does also try to estimate the amount of actual Co2 removed from the economy by the signatories, which it says fell by 42% or around 6.6 metric tonnes.

This was done largely through a reduction in what are called Scope 1 emissions, which relate to a firm’s direct output through things like manufacturing and transportation.

“I know it’s a hard to grasp content in terms of what that means, but they are actual reductions, and at the end of the day it’s about a starting point and looking at where we go for further reductions,” Mr Sercovich said.

One issue with that data is the fact that around one third of firms did not get their figures independently verified – meaning that it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Mr Sercovich said this shows how under-developed the practice is in Ireland, and highlights the need for improved auditing as firms strive to improve their record.

“It is something that we need to put more rigour and discipline around what companies are doing in this space,” he said. “What we have done is used internationally validated sources for the information to be processed… we have checked the data ourselves and obviously in some cases asked if it was verified.

“We would like to see more verification externally, of course.”

Should the figures prove to be accurate, however, it would represent a significant step towards the 2030 target in the space of a year.

Mr Sercovich said this will prompt them to be more ambitious than before – though he also notes that the next reduction in Co2 may not come as easily.

“36% out of 50% sounds like ‘almost there’ but the real challenge will be sustaining those intensity reductions, in terms of the investments that need to be done, in terms of the transformation of business models that are needed,” he said. “The last mile will be the most challenging one.

“What we need to do is keep on raising the level of ambition – this is like the Paris agreement – we are going to be working on how we can achieve the 50% reduction earlier, or how we can go even deeper, or look at other sources of emissions.”

Article Source: Click Here

Number of Irish companies reporting carbon emissions to CDP falls

Number of Irish companies reporting carbon emissions to CDP falls

The number of Irish companies reporting on their carbon emissions fell to 28 last year, from 30 in 2017.

This is according to the CDP Ireland ‘Climate Change Report 2018’.

However, there was an improvement in the quality of emissions reduction, with a 56pc increase in the number of Irish companies achieving a ‘B’ grade or higher.

CDP is the international investor led non-profit that measures environmental impact of companies around the world.

It assessed over 7,000 companies in 2018 across a range of different environmental standards, providing investors with verifiable data upon which to base their decisions.

Overall and 257 companies reported to CDP in 2018 that are either headquartered or operating in Ireland, up 11pc on the previous year.

Irish listed PLCs making the top 10 in the report included AIB, Kingspan, CRH and Kerry Group, while the hotel group Dalata was welcomed as a first-time responder last year.

Among the companies asked to respond to the CDP’s questionnaire but didn’t included Cairn Homes, Paddy Power Betfair, Permanent TSB, and Ryanair.

Caroline Pope, chairperson of the CDP Ireland Network, said: “2018 has been a year of progress on climate action, but we still have some catching up to do given Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council has warned that the country is off course in achieving its 2020 and 2030 emissions reductions targets.”

“We want to see a thriving economy that works for people and the planet in the long term, and this requires companies and investors to build a truly sustainable economy by measuring and understanding their environmental impact”

Companies looking to improve their performance in their CDP ranking can do so by making commitments on reducing carbon emissions through the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

This initiative sees companies set targets in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius, consistent with the goals agreed at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

Setting goals to move towards using 100pc renewable energy also helps to improve CDP rankings.

Article Source: Click Here