Emissions Projections

Official projections of GHG emissions to 2040 are based on two scenarios:

(1) with current policies, regulations and incentives (i.e. With Existing Measures, WEM) and
(2) with additional policies, regulations and incentives (i.e. With Additional Measures, WAM).

The WAM scenario includes the impact of new climate mitigation policies and measures that are in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan which was published in 2023. This Plan sets out a major programme of policies and measures aimed to help Ireland achieve its decarbonisation goals.


Assessment of Compliance

Ireland's 2030 target under the EU's Effort Sharing Regulations (ESR) is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42% by 2030.  The latest projections (May 2024) indicate that that currently implemented measures (With Existing Measures) will achieve a reduction of 9% on 2005 levels by 2030, significantly short of the 42% reduction target. If measures in the higher ambition (With Additional Measures) scenario are implemented, EPA projections show that Ireland can achieve a reduction of 25% by 2030, also short of the 42% reduction target.  

The 42% reduction target now applies for 2030, but new annual emission limits that are binding under the ESR have yet to be fully implemented.  To-date new AEAs have been implemented for 2021 to 2025 only.  Limits for 2026-2030 have been estimated as per the methodology in the 2023 amendment of the Effort Sharing Regulation. 

The ESR provides two flexibilities (EU-ETS and LULUCF) to allow for a fair and cost-efficient achievement of the targets.  New Regulations in 2023 mean there are new rules around LULUCF flexibility that incorporates split budgets 2021-2025 to 2026-20301.   Additional analyses are needed to estimate the impact of the new rules on flexibility.  In the interim, based on latest LULUCF inventory and projections data, the maximum amount of LULUCF flexibility now projected to be available is 13.4 Mt CO2 eq in the first 5-year period (or 2.68 Mt CO2 eq per annum from 2021-2025), with no flexibility available in the second 5-year period.

EPA projections show in the figure below, that use of the EU-ETS flexibility alone will not achieve compliance under the ESR.  When the ETS flexibility is applied projections indicate that Ireland will cumulatively exceed the ESR 2021-2030 emissions allocation by 31.1 Mt CO2 eq even with implementation of policies and measures in the WAM scenario.  The projections also show that use of both flexibilities (EU-ETS and LULUCF) will not achieve compliance under the ESR.  When both flexibilities are applied projections indicate that Ireland will cumulatively exceed the ESR 2021-2030 emissions by 17.7 Mt CO2 eq even with implementation of policies and measures in the WAM scenario.

1  https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2023/839/oj?eliuri=eli:reg:2023:839:oj, Article 7 (1) (a) and (aa) 

Projected emissions and Annual Emission Allocations (AEAs) under the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) for the period 2021-2030.

Climate Change impacts and adaptation

Observed climate change impacts are most evident in the global temperature record, sea-level rise, loss of glaciers and ice-sheets and changes in the nature and intensity of precipitation events. These have impacted on human health, water resources and management systems, ecosystems, food production and rates and levels of coastal flooding. Global projections indicate that oceans will continue to warm, sea-level rise will continue during this century and sea-ice and glacier volumes will further decrease.

The character and severity of the impacts of climate extremes depend not only on the extremes themselves but also on exposure and vulnerability to these extremes. The effects of climate change are projected to further impact on food production systems, water resources, coastal infrastructure, critical services and urban centers, resulting in increased displacement of people, societal stress and loss of land and other assets. Ireland’s climate is changing in line with regional and global trends. Adaptation actions will be required to reduce adverse impacts and increase resilience to these and other impacts of climate change.



Ireland’s climate is changing. Mitigation and adaptation action that is planned, coordinated and prioritised is required to build the resilience of society and the economy in the face of current and projected climate change impacts.

Ireland is vulnerable to weather extremes and sea-level rise. Its coastal assets, transport and energy infrastructure are also vulnerable. Their vulnerability has been exposed by recent weather extremes, which are expected to become more frequent over the coming decades.

Ireland also needs to play an effective part in contributing to EU and global efforts to ensure that the global temperature increase relative to pre-industrial temperatures stays well below 2ºC. Ireland is well positioned to provide leadership in key areas including the monitoring, reporting and verification of GHG emissions and removals from agriculture and land use. Coherent cross-government engagement in, and support for, strategic and effective local and global actions to address climate change is in Ireland’s interest.

The next decade needs to be one of major developments and advances in relation to Ireland’s response to climate change. We need to start implementing ambitious policies now. Full and early implementation of ambitious policies and measures can deliver Ireland’s current and future commitments to a climate-neutral economy and climate-resilient society by 2050.