Sustainable Development Model Predicts Potential Environmental Impact of Future Economic Activity

New research, published by the EPA, shows how economic forecasts can be used to project waste generation and emissions of pollutants across Ireland. The ISus (Irish Sustainable Development) Model is based on the work of a three year study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), funded under the EPA STRIVE research programme.

ISus covers more than 25 potential pollutants (to air, water and waste) emanating from 20 economic sectors.

The ISus model provides a link between economic forecasting and potential environmental impacts. This enables us to use the expertise of the ESRI, in relation to economic data, and link this with the environmental data produced by the EPA. The results will aid policy and decision makers to diagnose environmental problems, identify pressure points, target policy interventions and assess their success.

For example, projections on the generation of biodegradable waste – how much and where – could be a very useful tool for planning the location and required capacity for waste management infrastructure in the future.

ISus covers more than 25 potential pollutants (to air, water and waste)emanating from 20 economic sectors. Some of the findings from the research:

• In relation to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: Ireland faces a significant challenge in meeting its target for 2020.

• In relation to waste generation: projections from the model suggest that Ireland will also have great difficulty meeting EU limits on landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste.

The report Ireland’s Sustainable Development Model is available on the EPA website at www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/research/econ/.

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