EPA warning on 2020 climate targets : Action needed

EPA climate pollution data – the trend is going the wrong way.

The latest climate warning, backed by data, from the EPA says in no uncertain terms that Ireland will miss its 2020 climate pollution target by 19 percentage points.  This is the cumulative impact of over 20 years of lip service but inaction from successive Governments on our climate change mitigation obligations. We are in a serious deficit situation and without new policies (and urgent actions to put them into effect)  our emissions will still be higher in 2030 than they were in 1990.

As far back as 1998, Ireland agreed to its first climate pollution target, but in the intervening 20 years we’ve struggled to take real action to bring about serious reductions in emissions.

The latest EPA report predicts that in 2025 our emissions will still be as high as they were in 20 years ago – a shocking Zero reduction.

We must force our Government to act now.  They have failed to act on fossil fuel burning, sustainable energy generation and transport sectors. Common sense, practical and far-reaching proposals were made in a Citizens’ Assembly report which was presented to the Oireachtas in April last. This was carefully prepared, having taken a wide range of views and submissions.

Some facts.

  1. Ireland has exceeded its annual binding limit for the first time in 2016 and is heading in the wrong direction thereafter.
  2. Over the period 2013-2020 Ireland is projected to cumulatively exceed its compliance obligations by approximately 17 Mt CO2 equivalent under the With Existing Measures scenario and 16.3. Mt CO2 equivalent under the With Additional Measures scenario. That’s almost 20% above our target.

What are the consequences

The EPA predicts we will miss our 2020 targets by 19%.  There’s more.  Under the best-case scenario for 2030, our pollution will still be 10% above 1990 levels.  Contrast this to the Government’s own objective of 80% below 1990 levels. That’s a miss of 90%!

There will be consequences for us, and they are not good.

  1. Firstly, Irish taxpayers will be billed billions of euro in fines. This will take cash away from Government spend elsewhere and make us less able to invest in mitigation.
  2. The longer-term consequences are still worse.  The climate changes will expose our citizens to higher levels of risk from storms and floods.
  3. This will hit our pockets yet again in insurance premium rises exacerbated by climate change. The physical danger of floods, extreme wind and storms are going to become a daily hazard for us all.

Time is no longer on our side. It deserves some action……urgently.  We must act on the Citizens’ Assembly report on climate change.


  1. The EPA press release
  2. The full EPA 2018 report