The slump in emissions due to the Covid-19 lockdowns will do little to help Ireland meet its emissions-reduction targets this year or tougher goals in 2030, according to new research by the Economic and Social Research Institute.
Cuts in emissions during the Covid-19 crisis will not match the huge reductions experienced during the financial crisis and will be "shortlived", the research says.
"Ireland would still need to put in considerable effort to reach its EU emission goals," said Kelly de Bruin, one of the authors of the ESRI reserach.
"The results of the study underline the importance of having a well-designed government response policy package, which considers the unique economic and environmental challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis,” she said.
Ireland is facing into a potential EU fine at the end of this year and on current trends has very little chance of meeting the even tougher 2030 targets unless radical steps are taken to curtail the emissions from transport and agriculture despite the build-out of wind farms.
The ESRI reserach predicts that CO2 emissions will fall by 9.5% this year.
"Though initially, emissions will fall due to the economic downturn, in the medium-to-long term, however, lower energy prices will lead to an increase in energy demand, and hence an increase in emissions as restrictions are lifted," the research finds.
"This will lead to a failure to meet the Irish EU legally binding emissions targets in 2030," it says.