Ireland's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections 2021-2040

Summary: This report provides an updated assessment of Ireland’s total projected greenhouse gas emissions out to 2040 which includes an assessment of progress towards achieving its National ambitions under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 and EU emission reduction targets for 2030 as set under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2018/842).

Projections report cover image

Published: 2022

Pages: 36

Filesize: 866 KB

Format: pdf


Key Findings

  • Urgent implementation of all climate plans and policies, plus further new measures, are needed for Ireland to meet the 51 per cent emissions reduction target and put Ireland on track for climate neutrality by 2050.
  • Ireland can meet its non-ETS EU targets of a 30 per cent emission reduction by 2030 (compared to 2005) assuming implementation of planned policies and measures and the use of the flexibilities available. These include a land use flexibility using the Climate Action Plan 2021 afforestation rate of 8,000 hectares per annum.
  • The gap between the ‘Existing Measures’ and 'Additional Measures' scenarios in these projections highlights that the current pace of implementation will not achieve the change required to meet the Climate Act targets. Faster implementation of ‘Additional Measures’ is needed to close this gap.
  • Carbon budgets proposed by the Climate Change Advisory Council have recently been approved by the Oireachtas for the periods 2021-25, 2026-30 and 2031-35. The Projections highlight that there is currently a significant gap between the budgets and the projected emissions over the budget periods. This gap will need to be addressed very quickly if Ireland is to stay within the Carbon Budgets.
  • Under the Additional Measures scenario, renewable energy is projected to increase to 78 per cent of electricity generation by 2030 with emissions from the Energy Industry decreasing by 10 per cent per annum from 2021-30. Increased coal use from 2021 and growing energy demand, including from data centres, threaten to negatively impact achievement of National targets, particularly for the first carbon budget period.
  • Under the Existing Measures scenario emissions are projected to increase by 1.9 per cent over the 2020-2030 period. A methane emissions reduction of almost 30 per cent is required to achieve a 22 per cent reduction in Agriculture emissions compared to 2018, as committed to in the 2021 Climate Action Plan. The sector must clearly set out how this will be achieved to address uncertainty regarding its ability to deliver even the lower end of the range of its sectoral targets within the ever-shortening timeframe to 2030.
  • The end of COVID travel restrictions is projected to result in transport emissions increasing by 18-19 per cent from 2020 to 2022. Emissions from the sector are projected to reduce to 39 per cent below 2018 levels by 2030 and achieve a 31.7 per cent renewable transport share if the additional measures in plans and policies are implemented, this includes over 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, increased biofuel blend rates and measures to support more sustainable transport.
  • Spending more time at home due to hybrid working and the increasing cost of fossil fuels highlights the need for our houses to become far more efficient. Implementing currently planned measures for the installation of 680,000 heat-pumps by 2030 as well as retrofitting 500,000 homes is projected to achieve a 41.5 per cent reduction in residential emissions in 2030 (compared to 2018).