Wednesday, 3 March 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Climate Change Policy
The 2009 Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC (ESD) sets annual binding emissions reduction targets for EU Member States for the period 2013-2020. These targets cover emissions from sectors outside of the EU Emissions Trading System, such as agriculture, transport, buildings and waste. Pre-Covid estimates of the additional costs of purchasing carbon credits for compliance with these targets were in the region of €6 million to €13 million, depending on the price and final quantity of allowances required. This is in addition to a total of €117 million that has already been spent as part of Ireland’s strategy to meet its targets under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012), arising from which approximately 5,500,000 carbon credits are currently held by the State, which may be used for ESD compliance. In order to meet Ireland’s obligations for 2020 under the Renewable Energy Directive, there are mechanisms under the EU Framework that allow Member States to purchase ‘statistical transfers’ from other Member States to comply with their 2020 obligations. Given that existing policy measures across the electricity, transport and heat sectors will not be sufficient to achieve compliance with the 2020 target, contingency planning had been underway in my Department for some time on statistical transfers with other Member States. Intensive engagement with a number of Member States took place during 2020. This led to the successful conclusion of negotiations and terms being agreed with two Member States (Denmark and Estonia) which provide for the purchase by Ireland of specified quantities of renewable energy by virtue of statistical transfers.
The total cost of statistical transfers in 2020 is €50 million consisting of:
- the purchase of statistical transfer of 1,000 GWh from Denmark costing €12.5 million; and
- the purchase of statistical transfer of 2,500 GWh from Estonia costing €37.5 million.
Fund transfers of €50 million for the above were paid and completed by the end of 2020. Additional volumes may be required to be purchased under the Agreements in 2021 depending on the final energy statistics for 2020.
68. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the credits his Department attributed from sustainable land use, land use change and forestry measures towards Ireland’s non-emissions trading system target under EU effort sharing regulations. [11568/21]
Under EU legislation adopted in May 2018, EU Member States have to ensure that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) are offset by at least an equivalent removal of GHG emissions from the atmosphere for the period 2021 to 2030. The Regulation requires each Member State to ensure that accounted emissions from land use are entirely compensated by an equivalent removal of emissions from the atmosphere through action in the LULUCF sector. This commitment is referred to as the "no debit rule". For example, if a Member State converts forests to other land uses (deforestation), it must compensate for the resulting emissions by planting new forest (afforestation) or by improving the sustainable management of existing forest, croplands, grasslands or wetlands. In this way the "no-debit" commitment incentivises Member States to take actions that increase the absorption of emissions into agricultural soils and forests.
In recognition of the lower mitigation potential of the agriculture and land use sectors covered by the Effort Sharing Regulation (2018/842) (ESR), a LULUCF credit can be partially used to offset emissions under the ESR. If Ireland’s GHG emissions for a given year are in excess of the emission allocation for Ireland for that year, but if Ireland’s total accounted LULUCF emissions and removals are less than zero, then this “credit” can be taken into account for Ireland’s compliance that year. The cumulative quantity of such credits cannot exceed the maximum flexibility allocated to Ireland for the period 2021 to 2030, which is 26.8Mt CO2eq..