Ireland’s Environment 2012: The Main Challenges            State of the Environment in Ireland Conference, 27 June 2012   ...
Purpose of SoE Reports Provide a snapshot of the environment Track trends and changes in the environment Evaluate progr...
Assessment Framework (DPSIR) An integrated assessment of the environment as a whole Evidence based      Socio-economic ...
Policy Context - International EU 6th Environmental Action Programme 2002-2012 4 Priority Areas      Climate change   ...
Policy Context - International 2020 Roadmap for Resource Efficient Europe (2011)    Transforming economy onto resource e...
National Policy Context - Some Recent Developments Climate change – review of National climate policy commenced  in 2011 ...
Socio-Economic Context - A Changing Ireland Recent Trends    Economic growth followed by recession    Demographic chang...
Population Change 2000-2010 Ireland – population reached  4.5 million in 2011. Relatively sparsely populated  at 60 pers...
House Completions 1991-2011        2010 DECLG survey – 2,800 „Ghost Estates‟        23,000 completed but unoccupied hous...
Private Cars 2000-2010       Big increase in numbers of new cars to 2009       2008 onwards - shift towards more smaller...
Main Finding of SoE Report Ireland‟s environment is a strategic and valuable asset Needs to be protected and managed as ...
Ireland’s Environment 2012: The Main Challenges
Valuing and Protecting our Natural Environment Ireland‟s natural environment has a great intrinsic worth A good environm...
Water Quality       Ireland has better than average water quality in EU       85% of the area of groundwater aquifers is...
Challenges for Water The principal cause of water pollution - nutrient enrichment from  agricultural run-off and discharg...
Nature & Biodiversity Irelands‟ has a lower diversity of non-marine flora and fauna  than in continental Europe But Irel...
Conservation Status of Habitats     Majority of Ireland‟s habitats listed under the EU Habitats Directive in      poor or...
Conservation Status of Species    39% of species listed under the Habitats Directive are considered to be     in favourab...
Building a Resource-Efficient, Low-Carbon Economy Environment and Economy closely interwoven    E.g. Ireland‟s water res...
Resource Use & Waste   Waste and resource use two-side of the same coin   Landfill levy and recession driving waste mana...
GHG Emissions – Distance to Kyoto Target Ireland on track to meet its Kyoto commitments (2008-2012)    Using credits pur...
GHG Projections to 2020   Under most optimistic scenario, Ireland will exceed its annual limit    by 2017 and exceed its ...
Implementing Environmental Legislation Historically, Ireland has not had a good history of compliance with  EU environmen...
Putting Environment at Centre of our Decision Making Sustainable development context     Environmental protection and he...
Summary Ireland‟s environment generally of a good standard overall Recession has reduced some pressures on the environme...
Overview of State of the  Environment 2012 Report & Main Environmental Challenges
Overview of State of the  Environment 2012 Report & Main Environmental Challenges
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Overview of State of the Environment 2012 Report & Main Environmental Challenges

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Mícheál Lehane, EPA - An overview of the EPA’s fifth State of Environment report, outlining the main environmental challenges.

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Overview of State of the Environment 2012 Report & Main Environmental Challenges

  1. 1. Ireland’s Environment 2012: The Main Challenges State of the Environment in Ireland Conference, 27 June 2012 Dr Mícheál Lehane, Programme Manager, OEA
  2. 2. Purpose of SoE Reports Provide a snapshot of the environment Track trends and changes in the environment Evaluate progress in meeting environmental priorities Assess if national policies are implemented and working Identifies main environmental priorities for the future Uses knowledge as a catalyst for action
  3. 3. Assessment Framework (DPSIR) An integrated assessment of the environment as a whole Evidence based  Socio-economic context and developments  Pressures on environment  Quality of environment  Societal and other responses
  4. 4. Policy Context - International EU 6th Environmental Action Programme 2002-2012 4 Priority Areas  Climate change  Nature & Biodiversity  Environment and Health  Natural Resources and Waste Review in 2011  Acquis largely in place (except for soil)  Issues with implementation and coherence across countries EEA SoE Assessment 2010:  Environmental policy is effective – but needs to be more flexible and adaptable to tackle more complex issues in a global context
  5. 5. Policy Context - International 2020 Roadmap for Resource Efficient Europe (2011)  Transforming economy onto resource efficient path (Green Economy);  Consumption & production; innovation Proposed “Blueprint for Water”  Purpose to ensure availability of good-quality water for sustainable and equitable water use  Looking at how to better integrate water across other policy areas Preparations ongoing for 7EAP  Focus on Resource Efficiency and Implementation
  6. 6. National Policy Context - Some Recent Developments Climate change – review of National climate policy commenced in 2011 - looking at future policy options and approaches to transition to low carbon economy Air quality – CAFE Directive in Place since 2011 Waste - Revised EU Directive transposed in 2011; Consultation on new National Waste Strategy Water –New bathing water Directive in place 2011; decision to establish Irish Water; WFD – work on governance & structures Biodiversity - National Biodiversity Plan 2011-2016 Framework for Sustainable Development – June 2012  Overarching framework to integrate principles of SD across policy areas
  7. 7. Socio-Economic Context - A Changing Ireland Recent Trends  Economic growth followed by recession  Demographic changes  Lifestyle changes & consumption patterns
  8. 8. Population Change 2000-2010 Ireland – population reached 4.5 million in 2011. Relatively sparsely populated at 60 persons/Km2 – EU average is 116. Growth rate 5 times EU average from 2000-2010 Increasingly urbanised
  9. 9. House Completions 1991-2011  2010 DECLG survey – 2,800 „Ghost Estates‟  23,000 completed but unoccupied houses; 20,000 not finished.
  10. 10. Private Cars 2000-2010  Big increase in numbers of new cars to 2009  2008 onwards - shift towards more smaller engine sizes and lower emissions.
  11. 11. Main Finding of SoE Report Ireland‟s environment is a strategic and valuable asset Needs to be protected and managed as a basis of economic wellbeing and a healthy society Ireland‟s environment still generally of high quality overall Recession lowered pressures in some areas (e.g. waste & GHGs) But formidable targets to meet in the coming years Overall aim must be for Irelands economic renewal to be sustainable – decoupling growth from environmental pressures Ireland’s Environment 2012 identifies four key challenges
  12. 12. Ireland’s Environment 2012: The Main Challenges
  13. 13. Valuing and Protecting our Natural Environment Ireland‟s natural environment has a great intrinsic worth A good environment is important for health and well-being of society Economic activities require use of natural resources Resources require careful and well-informed management to maximise benefits Need to ensure not exhausted/degraded for future generations Particular emphasis on water and on biodiversity
  14. 14. Water Quality  Ireland has better than average water quality in EU  85% of the area of groundwater aquifers is at good status  71% of river channel is at high or good status  45% of lake area monitored is at high or good status  46% of the area of transitional and coastal waters at high or good status
  15. 15. Challenges for Water The principal cause of water pollution - nutrient enrichment from agricultural run-off and discharges from municipal WWTPs. Evidence of an overall improvement in water quality. Ireland faces major challenges to achieve WFD targets set for 2015, 2021 and 2027. Current governance & administrative arrangements not optimal to ensure delivery of WFD objectives efficiently & effectively. Review of water governance currently under way  to deliver more effective integration between the key government departments, the EPA and the lead local authorities.
  16. 16. Nature & Biodiversity Irelands‟ has a lower diversity of non-marine flora and fauna than in continental Europe But Ireland has a range of habitats and species – many of which are important in a European context  Ireland has legal obligations to protect biodiversity  Includes commitment to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. Progress made in designating EU-protected areas - but process not complete Aspects of biodiversity are under threat from a range of unsustainable activities
  17. 17. Conservation Status of Habitats  Majority of Ireland‟s habitats listed under the EU Habitats Directive in poor or bad condition  Only 7% are considered to be in favourable state  At EU level approx 17% of protected habitats in a favourable state
  18. 18. Conservation Status of Species  39% of species listed under the Habitats Directive are considered to be in favourable state (e.g. Bats, seals)  Some species especially in wetland and freshwater environments considered to be in bad or poor conservation status.  At EU level approx 17% of protected species in a favourable state
  19. 19. Building a Resource-Efficient, Low-Carbon Economy Environment and Economy closely interwoven  E.g. Ireland‟s water resources to become of increasing importance to economy Resource use and waste generation are at unsustainable levels throughout the EU (EEA, 2010). Recession has curbed growth in Ireland that was unsustainable. Opportunity to break link between consumption and production and focus on resource efficiency. Resource-efficient and Low Carbon economy - „Green Economy‟  Can bring increased competitiveness and new sources of growth  In 2010, 19,000 employed in Green economy sectors  Up to 10,000 further jobs could be created by 2015  Longer term- even more significant, esp. in renewable energy area (DJEI, 2012)
  20. 20. Resource Use & Waste  Waste and resource use two-side of the same coin  Landfill levy and recession driving waste management towards more sustainable behaviours  Resource-efficiency investments (e.g. EPA NWPP) can bring positive environmental outcomes as well as savings to businesses.
  21. 21. GHG Emissions – Distance to Kyoto Target Ireland on track to meet its Kyoto commitments (2008-2012)  Using credits purchased; taking unused allowances from ETS) Faces considerable challenges to meet its 2020 commitments.
  22. 22. GHG Projections to 2020  Under most optimistic scenario, Ireland will exceed its annual limit by 2017 and exceed its 2020 target  Ireland needs to reduce dependence on fossil fuels  Need for major increases in energy efficiency and use of other energy sources (wind, ocean, biomass)
  23. 23. Implementing Environmental Legislation Historically, Ireland has not had a good history of compliance with EU environmental laws.  Has resolved substantial number of EU environmental infringement cases in recent years. In coming years - Ireland has a challenging international obligations on air, water, waste, nature, GHGs „Implementation‟ will be a cornerstone of EU 7 EAP Costs associated with implementation – but also „Cost of Inaction‟  Costs of clean up of contaminated land can outweigh cost of prevention  Study of IPPC licensing regime in Ireland – direct compliance costs borne by operators less than avoided external pollution costs.  EU estimated cost of not implementing current legislation estimated at €50 bn Benefits to implementing - clean & protected environment important for health & wellbeing.
  24. 24. Putting Environment at Centre of our Decision Making Sustainable development context  Environmental protection and health are also inextricably linked  Economic well-being is dependant on a clean and well-managed environment Key economic sectors reliant on a high quality environment and clean, green image  Sectoral plans (e.g. Food Harvest 2020) must take place in a sustainable manner Environmental considerations & priorities must be incorporated into policies & plans  Strategic environmental assessment of policies and plans  Good uptake since 2004 – but some sectors yet to meaningfully engage Protecting the Environment a Shared Responsibility  Need leadership and co-ordinated efforts from Government and public bodies  Businesses and individuals must strengthen their environmental behaviour
  25. 25. Summary Ireland‟s environment generally of a good standard overall Recession has reduced some pressures on the environment Meeting Ireland‟s obligations and challenges cannot be reliant on Ireland staying in a recession Ireland faces a key challenges and obligations in coming years Economic recovery and renewal – need to have sustainable development principles at the core Overall aim is to ensure that Ireland has a clean and healthy environment for future generations to enjoy.

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