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Environment, Climate and Communications | Comparing Ireland’s carbon reduction targets to other European countries

To ask the Minister for the Environment; Climate and Communications the extent to which Ireland’s carbon reduction targets are in line with other European countries, given commitments entered into; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), legally binding annual greenhouse gas emissions targets are set for each Member State for the period 2021–2030. The regulation covers sectors of the economy that fall outside the scope of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS); including transport, buildings, agriculture, light industry and waste. The ESR is a key tool for the EU to reduce its emissions and is a central component of the EU’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Targets set under the ESR are to be delivered collectively by the EU. The targets are established in a way that balances considerations of fairness, cost-effectiveness and environmental integrity, and the governance framework is underpinned by principles and flexibilities that support this approach.

The legislative framework of the regulation provides for a number of compliance options beyond direct emissions reductions to enable Member States to achieve targets as efficiently and effectively as possible; including banking, borrowing and trading annual emissions allowances.

Ireland’s target under the current ESR (adopted in 2018) is to reduce non-ETS emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2005. The updated ESR, revised as part of the EU Fit for 55 Package and awaiting formal adoption, increases Ireland’s target to a 42% reduction in emissions. Notwithstanding the challenge inherent in reaching this revised target, Ireland supports the increased ambition.
Ireland’s climate objectives, as legislated for in the 2021 Climate Act, and our domestic 2030 target, as set out in the Climate Action Plan 2023, are fully aligned with our obligations under the Paris Agreement and with the enhanced ambition at EU level. 

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