Ireland is expected to achieve just over half of its legally binding 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, according to an emissions reduction forecast completed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The State’s emissions reduction target is set out at 51% of 2018’s emissions across all sectors of the economy by 2030.

A new EPA analysis projects that an emissions cut of only 29% will be achieved. This is just 57% of the reduction required by law that will actually be realised by 2050.

The EPA’s projection expects that the farming sector will get 72% of the way towards meeting its reduction required under the climate action plan, if new emissions-cutting measures are deployed on farm in addition to those which have already seen uptake at farm level.

These new measures include lower fertiliser use, a switch away from unprotected urea and the rollout of methane-reducing feed additives with cattle.

This reduction would be in front of the State’s forecast emissions cut of 57%, as well as ahead of the cuts sought from the transport and industry sectors.

Buildings are expected to be the only sector of the economy which will meet or exceed its 2030 emissions targets, while the electricity sector is forecast to get 88% of the way towards its target.

Speed and scale needed

EPA director general Laura Burke said that the projection puts Ireland “well short” of targeted emissions reductions and highlights the “scale of effort” needed to meet climate goals.

“The key priority must be to translate the aspiration in our policies and plans to implementation on the ground,” Burke commented.

“The transition to a low-carbon society is building momentum in Ireland. We see this with more electric vehicles on our roads, renewable electricity powering our homes and adoption of new farm practices. However, we need to speed up and scale up the transition.”