Ireland to miss emissions targets even under best case scenario – EPA

Ireland To Miss Emissions Targets Even Under Best Case Scenario – Epa
The Environmental Protection Agency said the momentum around reducing emissions is ‘not fast enough’. Photo: PA Images
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Cillian Sherlock, PA

Ireland will drastically miss targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions even under current “best-case scenario” projections, according to a report.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the momentum around reducing emissions is “not fast enough”.


There are two main targets considered by the agency’s report.

Domestically, the 2021 Climate Act set a target for a 51 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 when compared to 2018.



On a European level, Ireland’s latest target is to limit greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005.

The EU regulations allow for two flexibilities that could see Ireland purchasing “allowances” from countries that surpassed its targets as well as measures relating to the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector.

However, an EPA spokesperson said Ireland will still miss the EU target even when fully utilising these flexibilities.


The EPA report considers greenhouse gas emissions under two scenarios.

First, it modelled emissions with existing measures that have already been implemented.

Secondly, it also calculated a “best-case scenario” that includes policies that have been announced in the Climate Action Plan but have not yet been introduced.

In the most optimistic scenario, the EPA said Ireland will only achieve a reduction of up to 29 per cent by 2030, against the 2018 baseline for the national target.


This would require complete implementation of a wide range of policies and plans across all sectors that have not yet been fully realised.

It means Ireland will also miss its EU targets by a wide margin as there would only be a 25 per cent reduction on 2005 levels – notably lower than the 30 per cent projected in last year’s estimates.

With measures already in place, the reduction amounts to just 11 per cent when compared to 2018 and 9 per cent compared to 2005 – also down from last year’s estimates.

At present, almost every sector is on track to exceed emission ceilings set by the Government for 2030.


The agriculture, industry and electricity sectors are furthest from the mark.

In land-use, emissions will increase by 23-99 per cent as forestry reaches harvesting stage and changes from a carbon sink to a carbon source.

EPA director-general Laura Burke said the agency’s analysis shows current policies fall “well short” of targets and highlights the scale of effort required.

She said: “The key priority must be to translate the aspiration in our policies and plans to implementation on the ground.

“We need to speed up and scale up the transition.”

The EPA excluded a selection of policies in its report as it could not currently see a realistic implementation pathway for some measures that would “merit their inclusion”.

These measures include significant proportions of the Climate Action Plan’s ambitions for onshore and offshore wind, as well as solar generation.

The agency also said it would require more information on the Government’s “diversification” measures for agriculture for them to be included in its model, adding that it implied a reduction in herd numbers which would impact other measures.

Additionally, the EPA chose not to include 26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in “unallocated savings” that have been announced in Climate Action Plans but which have not been sufficiently explained by the Government.

An EPA spokesperson said that even if it had not excluded measures for which there was not enough detail, reductions would only reach 42 per cent by 2030 – still below the 51 per cent national target.

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