Researchers at the Clean Technology Centre compiled the data and formulated a new report published by the EPA which presents the findings from a small-scale research study on the main environment-related impacts arising from the COVID-19 experience in Ireland, both positive and negative. While focused primarily on the environmental effects, related effects such as changes in consumption, which have knock-on environmental impacts are also included.
The study period is for all of March and April 2020, which includes both the initial restrictions imposed on the 12th March 2020 (closures of schools, workplaces, etc.), and the eventual lock-down on the 27th March 2020. Where data are available, May 2020 has been included as well. The report should be regarded as a ‘first look’ at the effects of the pandemic. In some cases, the information gathered was qualitative, rather than quantitative – where hard data are not yet available. In time, each of the different environmental areas will be duly systematically quantified as part of the normal environmental assessment processes for the EPA State of the Environment Report 2020.
The study shows that Irish greenhouse gas emissions reduced by an estimated 2.5 per cent between March and May as a result of the impact of the lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest driver of falling energy-related CO2 emissions was the reduced consumption of transport fuel linked to the restrictions on mobility as part of the lockdown.
Cover photo by Tom Cleary via Unsplash