Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1476)

Bernard Durkan


1476. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which he remains satisfied that carbon emissions throughout the EU are measured equally with a view to ensuring that the more developed countries in the EU do not have the advantage over expanding economies such as Ireland with a view to an evenly spread advantage or disadvantage throughout the EU and noting in particular the relatively low rate of heavy carbon emitting industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34768/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares inventories of past, and projections of future, greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland on an annual basis. Inventories and projections are compiled by the EPA according to international standards to meet EU and UN reporting obligations and to inform national policy development.

The EU Effort Sharing Regulation, which entered into force on 9 July 2018, sets out binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for each Member State for the period 2021 to 2030. Ireland’s target under this regulation will be for a 30% reduction on 2005 levels of non-ETS emissions by 2030.

Targets for Member States were established based on a range of criteria, including GDP per capita and the cost-effectiveness of domestic emissions reductions within each Member State. During the Effort Sharing Regulation negotiations, Ireland emphasised the need to prioritise a successful conclusion aimed at retaining a high environmental ambition for the EU, but also providing each Member State with the capacity to contribute to that ambition in a cost-effective and fair manner. I am satisfied that the regulation provides appropriate recognition of different Member State circumstances, and the need to provide flexibility to reduce emissions as cost-effectively as possible in the context of the overall EU target.

The recently published Climate Action Plan 2019 sets out for the first time how Ireland will reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The plan sets out, in Chapter 3, the expected emissions abatement contribution from existing commitments under Project Ireland 2040 and from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) measures. The plan includes the necessary targets and measures, supported by detailed actions and roadmaps, to close the identified remaining gap of 58.4 MtCO2eq in the non-ETS sector. The relevant table is reproduced below.


Carbon Budget

Compliance Gap

Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) Ceiling

378.3 Mt


Projected Emissions (Pre-NDP)

479.9 Mt

101.6 Mt

Contribution of Project Ireland 2040 NDP Measures

- 16.4 Mt

85.2 Mt

Contribution of LULUCF

- 26.8 Mt

58.4 Mt

Contribution of Climate Action Plan 2019

- 58.4 Mt

0 Mt

Ireland supports strong EU ambition in order to contribute to the Paris Agreement objectives. The Climate Action Plan confirms Ireland’s support for increased EU climate ambition and the adoption of a net zero target by 2050 at EU level, including in the context of the importance of the EU reaffirming its role as a global leader in relation to ambitious climate action, and also in view of the upcoming UN Climate Summit later this month.

The transition to climate neutral economy will present both challenges and opportunities, and require additional changes across all sectors of the economy. Under the new Climate Action Plan I have committed to evaluate in detail the changes that would be necessary in pursuit of this objective at a national level.

Under the Plan, I have also committed to bring forward a new Climate Action (Amendment) Bill which will make the adoption of carbon budgets a legal requirement, require the Government to set a decarbonisation target range for each sector over five year periods, and establish a 2050 target in law.