Liam Reid in The Irish Times covers this story:
Greenhouse gas emission levels in Ireland have risen steeply for the first time in four years, a report to be published next week will show.
The records, to be released by the Environmental Protection Agency, are expected to reveal that greenhouse gas emissions have surged by more than one million tonnes, to a figure in the region of 70 million tonnes a year.
The rise, believed to be close to 2 per cent, is expected to be the largest since 2001, and will leave Ireland with one of the highest rates of emissions per head of population in the world.
It will see emissions levels at over 25 per cent above 1990 levels, 12 percentage points higher than the Kyoto target.
The report, which is being finalised this week, follows last Friday's publication of an international report on climate change, which warned of temperature rises of up to 6 degrees by the end of the century due to global warming caused by greenhouse gases.
Last Friday's report, published in Paris by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned of mass displacement, food and water shortages because of the impact of global warming.
The figures in next week's EPA report will contradict previous Government claims that emissions growth had been totally separated from economic growth.
However, last night the Department of the Environment said the increase was expected, and that the Government would meet its Kyoto commitment through a series of measures, including the purchase of carbon credits to offset domestic emissions.
Next week's report will show that the rises in certain sectors are significantly higher than had been predicted in Government reports.
The rate of increase, if it continues, could also see the State facing a carbon credits bill in excess of the €270 million that has already been set aside by the Government to make up for the shortfall in reaching the Kyoto target.
The EPA report will show that the transport and electricity generation sectors have been the main sources of the latest increase, and that the Government's strategy to cut emissions has had only a modest impact.
The latest report, which is for 2005, is likely to show that the latest rise has been driven by a huge increase in emissions from the transport sector, which grew by about 8 per cent. This is significantly higher than the modest 2 per cent rise for transport predicted in the Government's own emissions trading report of last March.
The slowdown in emissions growth from electricity generation has also been reversed, the report will show, with a steep rise caused mainly by two new peat-fired stations. The large increases in transport and energy have been offset to only a modest extent by decreases in emissions from agriculture and an increase in renewable energy sources.
It will leave the rate of emissions per head of population in Ireland among the highest in the world, exceeded only by the United States and Luxembourg.
It will show that emissions are now rising faster than previous estimates, and that the introduction of emissions trading in 2005 had only a small impact on curbing emissions levels.
Last night a spokesman for the Department of the Environment played down the significance of next week's report, saying it was "no surprise" to the Department as the increases from energy and transport were already flagged in a report by Sustainable Energy Ireland last year.
He said figures published by the Department last year also predicted emissions rates of up to 29 per cent above 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012 if no action was taken.
"However we will cut this down to 13 per cent," the spokesman said, through a combination of emissions trading, a revised climate change strategy to be published in the coming months, and the purchase of carbon credits, announced in last December's Budget.