'Problematic' emissions targets will not hit 2030 climate goal

The emissions reduction targets agreed yesterday are “problematic.”
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.41 29 Jul 2022

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'Problematic' emissions target...

'Problematic' emissions targets will not hit 2030 climate goal

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.41 29 Jul 2022

Share this article

The emissions reduction targets agreed yesterday are “problematic” and will not ensure Ireland hit’s its 2030 climate goal.

The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) is warning that the reductions, agreed yesterday after much controversy and negotiation only amount to a reduction of 43%.

The Government’s legally binding objective is to reduce emissions by 51% by the end of the decade.


The CCAC is also warning that the targets do not include any detail about how they are to be achieved – and is criticising the failure to include Land Use among the sectors responsible for emissions.

CCAC Chair Marie Donnelly said there “remains considerable uncertainty around how the carbon budgets will be delivered.”

“Whilst these targets are a useful starting point the targets will need to be revised upwards and monitored closely in the light of experience,” she said.


She said the Climate Action Plan due to be published later this year must set out the “precise actions and steps” that Ireland will take to meet its climate obligations.

Ms Donnelly said the increased ambition around renewable energy is a “welcome development” – noting that the war in Ukraine has made this more urgent than ever.

“To combat increasing costs and the climate crisis, we need to make every effort to strengthen our energy security,” she said.

“Ensuring security of energy supply through development of our renewable resources, demand reduction and energy efficiency is more important than ever.”


The emissions targets were agreed last night following weeks of negotiation on agriculture emissions.

The CCAC had said reductions of at least 22% to 30% in the sector were needed – with farmers arguing for the lowest possible reductions and the Green Party calling for more ambition.

In the end the Government agreed a 25% reduction.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, CCAC member Dr Cara Augustenborg said the targets must be increased.

“The climate science and the atmosphere really doesn’t care about compromise,” she said.

“So, the Climate Advisory Council l has found that this particular budget doesn’t align with the 51% emissions reduction commitment set forth in the legislation … and it doesn’t include land use.

“So, there is a need to go back and revise the targets upward.”


In the end, the agriculture sector was handed the lowest emission target of any sector – despite being responsible for nearly one-third of Ireland’s emissions.

On Newstalk Breakfast, the Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said the target can be met without reducing the national herd.

“No farmer will be required to cut their herd of forced to cut their herd,” he said.

“We are encouraging farmers to do more forestry and I think we will see more forestry done in the years ahead.

“Also, we will be encouraging farmers to do biomethane production.”

In all the reduction targets agreed are:

  • They are:
  • Electricity: 75% | From 10.5 MtCO2eq (2018) to 3 MtCO2eq (2030)
  • Transport: 50% | From 12 MtCO2eq (2018) to 6 MtCO2eq (2030)
  • Buildings (Commercial and Public) 45% From 2 MtCO2eq (2018) to 1 MtCO2eq (2030)
  • Buildings (Residential) 40% From 7 MtCO2eq (2018) to 4 MtCO2eq (2030)
  • Industry: 35% From 7 MtCO2eq (2018) to 4 MtCO2eq (2030)
  • Agriculture: 25% From 23 MtCO2eq (2018) to 17.25 MtCO2eq (2030)
  • Other*: 50% From 2 MtCO2eq (2018) to 1 MtCO2eq (2030)

MtCO2eq stands for ‘million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent’.

You can listen back to Dr Augustenborg here:

And the Agriculture Minister here:

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