Statement on the latest projections of the Environmental Protection Agency on Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions

Today, just one week after the publication of the finalised Climate Action Plan 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its latest projections, showing that the measures contained in the Climate Action Plan will not be enough, and that Ireland is in fact set to fall far short of its 2030 legally binding emissions reductions targets.

The latest projections are no surprise – the EPA, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Climate Change Advisory Council and others have consistently flagged that Ireland’s emissions are not decreasing rapidly enough to stay within the confines of the 2025 and 2030 carbon budgets.

As we highlighted in our submission on Climate Action Plan 2024, the decision to press on with a public consultation and publication of the Climate Action Plan prior to the release of the EPA’s analysis – in other words, without the data to demonstrate how effective the Climate Action Plan 2024 would be – significantly undermines the public participation process and has eroded confidence in the Plan itself.

While we acknowledge the significant challenges involved in achieving consensus and commitment on climate action, this pattern of continually missed targets cannot continue. The Government must be held to account on its legally binding targets. That is why, last year, Community Law & Mediation, representing Friends of the Irish Environment, initiated a landmark challenge of the Climate Action Plan 2023. The case argues that the Plan does not set out with sufficient specificity how greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced in line with Ireland’s legally binding carbon budget.

Ireland has a legal and ethical duty to adhere to its obligations on climate change, to protect children, citizens and communities from the most dangerous impacts of the climate crisis and to prevent the need for more abrupt and forceful action later.

We need credibility and consistency across all climate policy, including the Climate Action Plan, the National Energy and Climate Plan and the Long-term Strategy, and sufficient detail on how deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in emissions will be delivered in line with Ireland’s legally binding targets.