EPA emissions projections are “alarming and disappointing”

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EPA emissions projections are “alarming and disappointing”

Minister Ryan is responsible under the climate law to bring forward corrective measures

Friends of the Earth has described the EPA projections for Ireland’s climate-polluting emissions, published today, as “alarming and disappointing”. For the third year running the EPA says that planned Government action will cut emissions by less than 30% by 2030 when the benchmark in the climate law is a 51% reduction.

Commenting, Friends of the Earth Chief Executive, Oisín Coghlan, said:

“Today’s projected pollution numbers from the EPA are alarming and very disappointing. For the third year running the EPA says that planned Government action will cut emissions by less than 30% by 2030 when the benchmark in the climate law is a 51% reduction.

“The biggest problem seems to be the some of the Government’s flagship policies are not backed up with detailed implementation plans so the EPA cannot include them in the figures. 

“Examples include the demand management strategy for transport, the renewable heat policy for industry and the ambition to diversify agriculture away from over-reliance on beef and dairy. As yet, the EPA has judged that these aspirations are not backed up with concrete action plans to achieve them so they can’t count them yet.

“One silver lining therefore is that the Government knows what it has to do, it just needs to get on with it faster."

The climate law is very clear what happens next. Minister Ryan is accountable to the Oireachtas climate committee for the Government’s overall performance. They will call him before the Committee in the coming months once the Climate Advisory Council has published its review and recommendations. Under the law, Minister Ryan should present corrective measures to the Committee that would close the emissions gap. Moreover, the Committee can make its own recommendations on how to close the gap. And the Minister and the Government must comply or explain when they adopt an updated Climate Action Plan for 2025 before the end of this year.

Mr Coghlan continued:

“This is the litmus test for this Government’s commitment to climate action. They’ve adopted the legal framework, they’ve adopted many of the headline policies, but are they going to take the concrete actions needed to reduce emissions in line with the binding limits set by the Dáil?

“It’s also a test for all seven political parties that voted for the climate law and the binding national limits on polluting emissions, the Carbon Budgets. Will they hold the Government to account for the emissions gap and crucially will they present their own proposals to do things faster or to cut emissions differently? They have a responsibility to do that under the climate law and, as citizens, we all have an interest in them doing that before the General Election. Whoever is in government after the next election will in all likelihood be in power all the way to 2030 and responsible for delivering pollution reductions in line with our Carbon Budget and our agreed EU targets."

The good news is we know what we have to do. A recent summary for policymakers by the Energy Policy Modelling Group in UCC, led by Prof Hannah Daly, concluded

 “No miracles are necessary: the vast majority of emissions savings required in the energy system this decade can come from wind, solar and the electricity grid, electric vehicles, heat pumps and reducing car demand. These five solutions are, for the most part, available now, scalable, well understood, and have international precedent.”



  1. The EPA projections figures and explanations are here: https://www.epa.ie/news-releases/news-releases-2024/ireland-is-projected-to-exceed-its-national-and-eu-climate-targets.php
  2. The policy recommendations from UCC’s Climate Clinic to close the emissions gap are here: https://bit.ly/ClimateClinic24a