Ireland has agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2005 levels. On being appointed as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I said that while Ireland has jointly the most demanding targets (the EU average is 10%), Ireland is far off course. I am now developing an All-of-Government Plan which will set out the actions to be taken to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, including how Ireland will, at the very least, meet its targets for the period to 2030. I hope to publish this plan in the coming weeks.
Under the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC, which put in place binding annual emissions targets for each year between 2013 and 2020 for sectors outside the EU Emissions Trading System, Ireland must achieve a reduction of 20% relative to 2005 levels of emissions. The latest projections, published in May 2018 by the EPA, indicate that emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by the ESD could be only between 0% and 1% below 2005 levels by 2020.
The Effort Sharing Decision allows Member States to meet their targets using unused emissions allowances from earlier years, or through purchasing allowances from other Member States or on international markets. Ireland has already acquired a portion of the additional allowances that will be required for compliance. However, I am advised that Ireland will need to purchase additional allowances to meet projected shortfalls in 2019 and 2020. My Department currently estimates the costs of this requirement to be in the region of €6m to €13m, depending on the price and final quantity of allowances required.