Transport emissions decreased by 3.5% from 11.29 Mt CO2eq in 2011 to 10.90 Mt CO2eq in 2012. This was the fifth year in a row that a decrease in transport sector emissions was reported following significant growth up to 2007; transport emissions in 2012 were 24.7% lower compared with 2007. The decrease primarily reflected the impact of the economic downturn plus the changes in vehicle registration tax and road tax introduced in mid-2008 (EPA, 2013). In addition, the Biofuels Obligation Scheme started operation in mid-2010 with biofuels displacing petrol and diesel use in the transport sector.

To put this into context however, transport emissions are projected to increase by 19% over the period 2013 – 2020 to 13.2 Mt CO2eq (EPA, 2015). The scenarios used to calculate the projections include:

  • The impact of VRT and motor tax changes (introduced in 2008), public transport efficiencies (e.g. integrated ticketing) and the carbon tax imposed on fuels since 2010.
  • Improvements to the fuel economy of private cars, supported by EU Regulation which mandates maximum levels of CO2 for new cars to 120g/km in 2015 and 95g/km in 2020.
  • 6% of transport energy demand comes from biofuels by 2020 which is supported by the Biofuel Obligation Scheme 20107.

Coupled with the fact that emissions in 2012 were still 113% higher than the 1990 transport emissions, a sharp focus on this area is still very much a necessity. Changes in travelling patterns are required across the country from government, industry and individuals to halt this increase in transport related emissions.  More information on Ireland's projected emissions can be found here.


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