Environmental Research Institute - Reports

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    EU ETS and competitiveness of Irish industry
    (Environmental Protection Agency, 2019) McInerney, Celine; O'Connor, Ellen; Power, Bernadette; Deane, Paul; McDermot, Tom; Environmental Protection Agency
    Irish electricity generators and energy-intensive industry are obliged to participate in the EU emissions trading system and this may lead to an increase in production costs for these companies. Reform of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) has seen significant price increases and may lead to further volatility in prices for emissions allowances. There are concerns that increased costs of compliance will have a negative impact on business competitiveness in Ireland. This project aims to investigate the effects of the EU ETS on competitiveness by (i) reviewing the literature on regulation and firm competitiveness, (ii) analysing firm-level data to determine the impact of the EU ETS and green investment on the competitiveness of Irish industry thus far, (iii) using a survey to find the opinions of stakeholders regarding the EU ETS and emission reduction projects and (iv) estimating the effect on future electricity prices if Ireland were to participate in a carbon price floor.
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    Environmental outcomes from licence enforcement activity
    (Environmental Protection Agency, 2020) Power, Bernadette; O'Connor, Ellen; Eakins, John; McInerney, Celine; Hellebust, Stig; Sullivan, Timothy; Environmental Protection Agency
    The ultimate objective of environmental regulation is the prevention and reduction of environmental harm from pollution, habitat loss and resource depletion. This desk study reviewed the development of environmental performance measures for the promotion of compliance and the measurement of the impact of and outcomes from enforcement activity. The research also reviewed types of metrics of environmental outcomes available in Ireland and gaps in these metrics. The review examined new approaches that are more collaborative, as well as trends in environmental enforcement activities, coupled with recent developments in the environmental enforcement methods of enforcement agencies in Scotland, England and Wales, and Canada. The findings from this research provide an update of current practices and recent changes introduced in some jurisdictions, with the target audience being the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), industrial environmental managers and compliance officers, researchers and policymakers.
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    Residential solid fuel use in Ireland and the transition away from solid fuels
    (Environmental Protection Agency, 2022) Eakins, John; Power, Bernadette; Dunphy, Niall; Sirr, Gordon; Environmental Protection Agency; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
    The Environmental Protection Agency has highlighted air quality issues in urban centres in Ireland in recent years. Emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), attributable to the burning of solid fuels, such as coal, peat and wood, are a particular cause of concern. The complexity of the residential solid fuel sector, due to the heterogeneity of fuels being used and the lack of reliable and periodic data sources, hampers the task of developing effective policy solutions to support the continued transition away from the use of solid fuels for residential home heating. This research project aims to provide a deeper understanding of the sector using existing and new sources of data on solid fuel use. Some of the aims of the project include a more detailed examination of individual solid fuels; identification of the factors that determine the use of solid fuels, including the use of solid fuels as a “supplementary” fuel; and a quantification of the use of non-traded solid fuels, i.e. purchases made through informal markets or the own production and use of harvested peat, wind-blown trees or foraged wood.
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    A roadmap for local deliberative engagements on transitions to net zero carbon and climate resilience
    (Environmental Protection Agency, 2022-07) Mullally, Gerard; Revez, Alexandra; Harris, Clodagh; Dunphy, Niall; Rogan, Fionn; Byrne, Edmond P.; McGookin, Connor; Ó Gallachóir, Brian P.; Bolger, Paul; O'Dwyer, Barry; Flood, Stephen; Boyle, Evan; Glynn, James; Barry, John; Ellis, Geraint; Environmental Protection Agency; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
    Public engagement and participation are best understood as fluid and evolving categories that embrace the many ways in which citizens collaborate on, intervene in, oppose or deliberate over matters that concern them. In recent years the role that the public occupies in climate action debates has expanded and has given rise to new knowledge co-creation practices and deliberative decision-making processes. It is increasingly acknowledged that meaningful public engagement in climate action requires well-informed, equal and inclusive processes. There is a compelling body of work internationally in support of embedding deliberative democratic practices more deeply to strengthen public engagement. In this report we explore some of these innovative practices and processes, and present the main findings from the project 'Engaging, Envisioning, and Co-Producing Pathways for a Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Ireland (Imagining2050)', which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and co-funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The aim of the project was to engage with civil society using innovative co-creation and deliberative approaches, and test these approaches, to explore and consolidate future visions of and pathways to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future in Ireland.
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    Better together: knowledge co-production for a sustainable society
    (Royal Irish Academy, 2021-11) Bolger, Paul; Brereton, Pat; Grant, Olga; Torney, Diarmuid
    This Royal Irish Academy white paper, ‘Better together: Knowledge co-production for a sustainable society’, provides an overview of knowledge co-production for sustainability and environmental research in Ireland; highlights the benefits and challenges of co-production approaches; and identifies key levers for building capacity and capability for knowledge co-production. The paper draws on almost 50 case studies of co-production research for sustainability, along with the outputs from the online Royal Irish Academy symposium and workshop ‘Better together: Knowledge co-production for a sustainable society’, which took place on 3 June 2021. Short summaries of the case studies are included in this white paper.