Ireland 'must do its EU homework' before UN climate talks in 4 weeks

View all news

European Commission gives Ireland and 3 other countries a final warning for not submitting a long-term plan on climate action

COP27 will kick off in Egypt in just four weeks time. However, Ireland’s climate credentials are the on the line having been recently issued a formal notice for failing to comply with a key element of EU climate law [1].  Ireland wants to play a leading role in climate policy at international level yet it is among a handful of countries [2] who have repeatedly failed to submit a Long-Term Strategy (LTS) on climate action to the European Commission [3] - in fact the Government is now more than 2 and half years late in providing this Strategy. 

Why is this important? The preparation of this Strategy is a requirement under EU law and it sets out the steps Ireland must take to achieve net zero by 2050 at the latest. It must cover not only expected emissions reductions across sectors in line with national plans, it must also provide information on investment, research, socio-economic effects, health impacts and environmental protection. It is an important mechanism in ensuring the EU achieves its collective net zero goal. It allows for checks and balances to ensure that Ireland’s makes an appropriate and fair contribution to meeting that goal. These Strategies have already been produced by 23 other Member States. Only Ireland, Poland Romania and Bulgaria have failed to come forward. 

The European Commission has previously highlighted Ireland’s failure to provide this Strategy and last week issued a formal notice to the Government, giving it a two month deadline to produce the Strategy. If the Government continues to ignore the Commission’s directions, it may ultimately refer Ireland to the Court of Justice. 

Commenting, Dr Bríd Walsh, Climate Policy Coordinator with Friends of the Earth said:

“Attending COP27 without having submitted the Strategy is like going to school without doing your homework. Ignoring EU obligations is no way to move from climate laggard to leader and flies in the face of Ireland’s calls to other nations to deliver on their climate commitments.

“To even play a credible role at the upcoming COP27 meeting in Egypt the Government must deliver on its EU commitments. The Long-Term Strategy must set out how Ireland will meet the target of net zero by 2050, also keeping in mind 2050 is the deadline with Ireland expected to make even earlier progress as a leading Member State [4].

“We need this Strategy, together with the forthcoming Climate Action Plan, to set out the big and bold actions needed right now to get to net zero as soon as possible so Ireland does its fair share, cuts polluting emission and protects vulnerable communities.” 


[1] See here: The European Commission in the same notice also called on Ireland to halt peat-cutting activities in Natura 2000 sites and to restore these sites.

[2] The four EU countries which have not submitted their Long-Term Strategy are: Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. 

[3] A Long-Term Strategy is required under the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action. The Governance Regulation, adopted in December 2018, obliged all EU member states to prepare long-term climate strategies with a 30-year horizon. Member states were to submit their LTS to the European Commission by January 1st 2020. The long-term strategies must also be consistent with Member States’ integrated national energy and climate plans to 2030

[4] As pointed out by Professor Kevin Anderson during the Joint Oireachtas Committee hearings on the Carbon Budgets, under a globally fair and equitable system of emission cuts  Ireland would be required to reach net zero by about 2030 to keep temperature rise to 1.5C. See here:

Categorised in:
Climate Change
Tagged with: