Ireland can meet its current EU target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, according to the latest projections for 2019-2040 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projections. 

Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, with full implementation of the 2019 Climate Action Plan are projected to decrease by an annual average reduction of 3% between 2021 and 2030. Even further measures are required to meet national and EU ambition to keep global temperature increase to 1.5oC.

Commenting on the figures Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, said: “These latest projections demonstrate that if we implement the actions that are planned, and if all sectors get behind these, then we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This is only the first step however, and for Ireland to become the low carbon and climate resilient society and economy that we aspire to, then systemic change is required.”

Short-term emission reductions due to Covid-19 do not negate the need for long term, targeted action across all sectors. Ireland will rely on maximising the use of land – for example grasslands, wetlands and forestry to meet targets, she claimed.

“We are now at a pivotal point for our economy and the steps we take in our recovery will shape Ireland for the next decade. Focusing on climate action as part of a ‘green’ recovery stimulus offers the opportunity to rebuild our economy, generate new jobs and respond to climate change.

“What Covid-19 has taught us is that while the dramatic decline in economic activity and travel may have resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gases in the short term, long term improvements can only be achieved with targeted climate and environmental actions that change consumption and production systems in a sustainable and lasting manner.”