Ireland faces legally binding targets at EU level on greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy.
On greenhouse gas emissions, the Effort Sharing Regulation currently requires Ireland to reduce national non-ETS greenhouse gas emissions by 30% (compared to 2005 levels), with annual limits for every year over the period 2021-2030.
On renewable energy, 2030 renewable energy targets are set by individual Member States in their respective National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP). Our current NECP requires Ireland to reach a renewable energy level of 34.1% by 2030 with periodic milestones on the path to the achievement of this target.
Both of these targets will likely be increased as part of the EU’s Fit for 55 package.
A failure to make sufficient progress towards these targets and the likely upward revisions, could give rise to a cost of compliance. As the Deputy notes, I have committed to developing a methodology to ensure that any compliance costs that arise from a failure to reach these targets will be borne by the sector responsible for this failure. With the completion and publication of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, development of this methodology has commenced and will progress in 2022.
Regarding the sectoral emission ceilings, the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 sets out the process for setting carbon budgets in detail. In particular, the Act assigns responsibility for creating sectoral emissions ceilings to the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, in consultation with other Ministers, with the resulting ceilings to be approved by Government. This process takes place after the adoption of the National Carbon Budgets.
Given that both the development of the proposed methodology and the sectoral carbon budgets are still in development, it is perhaps premature to consider how the methodology may apply beyond its intended purpose. However, as part of the methodology's development my officials will consider its potential wider application and will develop the methodology in close collaboration with other Government Departments, particularly the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.