Under the 2009 Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC (ESD), 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. Under the latest projections of greenhouse gas emissions, published earlier this year by the EPA, emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by the ESD could remain between 0% and 1% below 2005 levels by 2020. The ESD allows Member States to meet their targets by means of 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 cost of this requirement to be in the region of €6m to €13m, depending on the price and final quantity of allowances required. Provision will be made in my Department's Vote for this purpose.
This cost estimate is in addition to the costs already incurred from previous purchases and agreements entered into by the State, amounting to some €121m in total since 2007, a proportion of which was used to meet Ireland's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol in the period 2008-2012.
To address the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland, I published the Climate Action Plan on 17 June. The Plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.