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Environmental Protection Agency

Ireland to fall 'well short' of both national and EU emissions reduction targets

The country is projected to achieve a reduction of up to 29% in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to the target of 51%.

IRELAND IS PROJECTED to miss both its national and EU climate targets, with almost all sectors set to exceed their national emissions ceilings for 2025 and 2030. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published its greenhouse gas emissions projections for Ireland between 2023-2050.

The report said that the country is forecast to achieve a reduction of up to 29% in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This is well short of its target of 51%. 

The 29% reduction would only be achieved if a range of policies and plans across all sectors outlined in the 2024 Climate Action Plan were fully implemented and delivered the anticipated carbon savings, the report states. 

The first two carbon budgets, which were signed into law in 2022 and aim to support achievement of the 51% emissions reduction goal, are projected to be exceeded by a significant margin of between 17% and 27%. 

Ireland is also on track to exceed its target under the EU’s Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) to limit its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42% by 2030.

The latest EPA projections show that currently implemented policies and measures will achieve a reduction of 9% by 2030, significantly short of the 42% reduction target and also lower than the 10% reduction projected in last year’s report. 

Laura Burke, the director general of the EPA, said the latest projections “highlights the scale of effort required to achieve the required reductions across all sectors of our economy”.

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

She said that the transition to a low carbon society is “building momentum” in Ireland.

“We see this with more electric vehicles on our roads, renewable electricity powering our homes and adoption of new farm practices. However, we need to speed up and scale up the transition.”

The projections in the EPA report are based on a number of data sets and can be split into two scenarios: With Existing Measures (WEM) and the more ambitious With Additional Measures (WAM).

The WEM scenario is a projection of future emissions based on the measures currently implemented and actions committed to by Government.

The WAM scenario includes all measures included in the WEM scenario as well as those included in Government plans but not yet implemented.


Sectoral emissions targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions were agreed in 2022. The ceilings are legally binding and set out the maximum amount of greenhouse gas emissions permitted in different sectors.

According to the report, all sectors, except Residential buildings, are projected to underperform relative to the sectoral emissions ceilings.

Total emissions from the Agriculture sector are projected to decrease by between 1% and 18% from 2022 to 2030.

The report projects savings from a variety of measures, including limits on nitrogen fertiliser usage, switching to different fertilisers and bovine feed additives.

The higher ambition scenario assumes that most of the measures outlined in Climate Action Plan 2024, AgClimatise and Teagasc (MACC) are in place.

Emissions from the Transport sector are projected to reduce by 26% between 2022 to 2030 if the measures set out in plans and policies are implemented.

These include over 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, increased biofuel blend rates and measures to support more sustainable transport.

Road freight is projected to be the biggest source of road transport greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Looking at the Energy sector, the report states that there was a marked drop of almost 24% in emissions from electricity generation between 2022 and 2023. 

This was driven by a reduction in fossil fuel usage and increased net importation of electricity from interconnectors, it said.

Combined with planned increases in renewable energy generation from
wind and solar, energy sector emissions are projected to reduce by 62% and achieve over 80% renewable electricity generation by 2030.

Meanwhile, emissions from the Land Use sector are projected to increase between 23% to 99% over the period of 2023 to 2030 “as our forestry reaches harvesting age and changes from a carbon sink to a carbon source”.

Planned policies and measures for the sector, such as increased afforestation, water table management on agricultural organic soils and peatland rehabilitation, are projected to reduce the extent of the emissions increase.

EPA Programme Manager Mary Frances Rochford said the projections show “the importance of accelerating the delivery of renewable technologies to support decarbonised electrification across the economy”. 

She also stated that they highlight the need to adopt known emission reduction technologies while new solutions are developed in agriculture, provide alternatives to car and freight transport, and take action to reduce emissions from land to reduce Ireland’s emissions.

“Increasing the pace of implementation will deliver the required emission reductions and create space for adoption of further policies and measures.”

The full Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2023 to 2050 report is available on the EPA’s website

Unsure of what exactly is happening with the earth’s climate? Check out our new FactCheck Knowledge Bank for essential reads and guides to finding good information online.

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