‘Transport emissions have gone through the roof and you don’t hear much about it’ – Hogan

Total greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector – including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – have “gone through the roof” in recent years, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has pointed out.

Speaking at the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association’s (ICMSA’s) annual general meeting (AGM), Commissioner Hogan highlighted that “all sectors” must take responsibility for reducing carbon emissions in order to meet the country’s legally-binding climate change obligations.

“Agriculture has to play its part but, of course, all other sectors have to play their part too.

Transport emissions have gone through the roof in recent years and you don’t hear much talk about it – not as much as you hear about agriculture.

The EU has set a target of a reduction of 20% by 2020 and 30% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels in the non-Emissions Trading Scheme (non-ETS) sector.

This sector includes: agriculture; transport; residential; commercial; non-energy intensive industry; and waste.

According to a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency – published last May – further growth in emissions from the transport sector is projected in line with a growth in fuel consumption in diesel cars up to 2025.

Transport emissions are projected to increase from current levels by 17-18% by 2020 and by 17-20% by 2030.

A decline in emissions is projected from 2025 to 2030, resulting from an acceleration in the number of electric vehicles on Irish roads.

Public transport engines

Speaking to AgriLand at the AGM the commissioner reiterated that the transport sector must also take responsibility for its carbon contribution.

“Agriculture, transport and building are the three main areas where they have to play their part on the climate agenda to meet our targets.

“So, what I’m saying to a farming audience, and I was very direct with them, is that they have to play their part and they have to watch their markets in the context of sustainability.

“If they don’t take action in the future, well then we will suffer in the market place because of the consumer demand and expectation of how we produce and how we process.

Transport, of course, has to do the same and that requires more opportunities for public transport in particular.

“What types of engines are in our public transport fleets and our private transport fleets – there needs to be incentives for that.

“Of course there also needs to be incentives for the aviation sector,” the commissioner said.