Mitigation refers to the policies and practices necessary to reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions associated with all social & economic activity.
It is a recognition that the phenomena of climate change-warming is man-made, and that mitigating actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can arrest and possibly reverse the rate of man-made climate warming.
Mitigation actions are being addressed globally under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The next Conference Of Parties to discuss Climate Change issues is taking place in Paris in December 2015.
EU 2020 Energy & Climate Change
The 2020 package is a set of binding legislation to ensure the EU meets its climate and energy targets for the year 2020.
The package sets three key targets:
- 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels)
- 20% of EU energy from renewables
- 20% improvement in energy efficiency
The targets were set by EU leaders in 2007 and enacted in legislation in 2009. They are also headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The Government of Ireland sets out in the 2007 Government White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland, a target for a 20% improvement in energy efficiency across the whole economy by 2020. The White Paper also states an ambition to surpass the EU target of 20%, with an indicative target of 30% energy efficiency by 2020. The public service is to take an exemplary role in energy efficiency, with a savings target of 33% by 2020.
Overall renewables target of 16% of total final consumption to come from renewable energy in 2020.
This target will be made up of contributions from renewable energy in electricity (RES-E), renewable energy in transport (RES-T) and renewable energy for heat and cooling (RES-H).
There are also individual targets for RES-E, RES-T and RES-H.
These targets are as follows:
- Renewables contribution to gross electricity consumption of 15% by 2010 and 40% by 2020.
- Renewables (biofuels and the renewable portion of electricity) contribution to transport energy of 3% by 2010 and 10% by 2020.
- Renewable contribution to heat (Thermal requirement - heating & cooling) of 5% by 2010 and 12% by 2020
Green House Gas reduction
Ireland’s legally binding commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, was to limit the growth of annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) to 13% above 1990 levels by the period 2008 to 2012. Ireland did not comply with this agreement.
The European target of a 20% reduction in GHG emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2020, was adopted by the Irish government.
Ireland Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill - 2015
Ireland has many issues to address in response to climate change mitigation. The government has adopted the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill of 2015. Under this bill an expert advisory committee has been established to examine Ireland’s policies and actions to address climate change mitigation. Under the Bill, the government will also consult and publish a National Mitigation Plan.