Progress to targets

In relation to 2020 EU targets, Ireland's emissions covered by the 2013-2020 EU Effort Sharing Decision target are provisionally estimated to be 7% below 2005 levels in 2020 compared to the target of 20% below 2005 levels by 2020. Ireland is estimated to have cumulatively exceeded its compliance obligations by 12.02 Mt CO2 eq over the 2013-2020 period, and will need to use credits and/or purchase surplus annual emission allocation from other member states to achieve compliance.

In 2020 the sectors with the largest contribution of emissions are agriculture (37.1%), transport (17.9%) and energy industries (15.0%). Ireland exceeded the 2020 ESD target, despite the impact of COVID on the 2020 emissions which, due to national lockdowns, saw transport emissions decline but agriculture emissions largely unaffected. 

These latest projections (June 2021) indicate that Ireland can meet its non-ETS EU targets over the period 2021 to 2030 assuming full implementation of the 2019 Climate Action Plan and the use of the flexibilities available. In terms of the 2030 targets, the ESR provides two new flexibilities (use of ETS allowances and credit from action undertaken in the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector) to allow for a fair and cost-efficient achievement of the targets. Ireland can potentially avail of up to 26.8 Mt CO2 eq of credits under the latter flexibility, almost 10% of the total available under this flexibility across the EU. This is in recognition of the greater relative contribution of agriculture to Ireland’s emissions profile, and the challenges associated with emissions reductions from that sector. Our projections show that Ireland can meet its 2030 targets only with full implementation of the 2019 Climate Action Plan and the use of both flexibilities. Greenhouse gas emissions 2020 graph above shows Ireland's ESD emissions and targets.

GHG Emissions to 2020

The 2020 EU Effort Sharing target commits Ireland to reducing emissions from those sectors that are not covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme (agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, non-energy intensive industry and waste) to 20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.  The final inventory reviews for the years up to 2019 were completed in April 2021 following the submission of official data in March 2021 to the European Commission. For the period 2013 to 2019 Ireland currently has a cumulative 5.29 Mt CO2eq shortfall of annual emission allowances (AEAs), despite emissions being substantially below the annual allowance in the years 2013-2015.  Ireland’s annual limit for 2020 is 37.65 Mt CO2eq. Ireland’s provisional 2020 greenhouse gas ESD emissions are 44.38 Mt CO2eq, 6.73 Mt CO2eq more than the annual limit for 2020.

See further detail in the EPA report Ireland's Provisional Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990-2020.

Further information about Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions is available on our website.

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