Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Climate Change Policy
45. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which his Department monitors targets deemed to address the issue of emissions and climate change; the degree to which progress continues to be made in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9336/21]
56. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent to which measures already in place here to curtail greenhouse gas emissions have been successful or require upgrading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9350/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 45 and 56 together.
Responsibility for monitoring Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions rests with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who prepare our national emissions inventories and projections. Inventories are compiled by the EPA according to international standards to meet EU and UN reporting obligations and to inform national policy development.
The 2009 EU Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC established annual greenhouse gas emission targets for the period 2013-2020 for Ireland. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20% below 2005 levels. The latest EPA projections show that emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by our targets could be between 2-4% below 2005 levels. While these projections do not take into account the likely impact of Covid-19, they demonstrate the challenge we face to reduce emissions.
Regarding renewable energy, the most recent data from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland shows that between 12.5% and 13.2% of Ireland’s energy requirements in 2020 are expected to have been met from renewable sources, as against Ireland’s overall 16% target.
It is clear that we need to step-up our actions to meet our EU targets and the ambition set out in the Programme for Government, which contains a commitment to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030.
I will lead on delivering this ambition, which will more than halve our carbon emissions over the course of the decade. With the increased scale and depth of this ambition, new strategies will be needed to sustain a reduction trajectory that will increase over time. I am working with colleagues across Government to develop a new Climate Action Plan, with additional initiatives in every sector to bring about the significant change needed to transform our society. The Climate Action Plan will require annual revisions to address the need for intensive and regular monitoring and updating of policy actions to ensure we remain on track and within our emission limits, and will act as a further review mechanism and opportunity to adjust and refocus actions, as required.