Ireland rises nine spots from 46th to 37th in this year’s CCPI, but it remains in the low-performing countries. Ireland receives a medium rating in the Renewable Energy and Energy Use categories, with a low in Climate Policy and a very low in GHG Emissions.
Significant progress in climate policy
Ireland is committed to reducing emissions by 51% by 2030 (compared to 2018 levels) and achieving net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. Despite these goals, Ireland’s emissions are rising and have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.
The CCPI experts note that significant progress in climate policy in 2022, with the introduction of legally binding carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings. However, government implementation remains weak with necessary actions and measures delayed or ignored in many areas.
The experts welcome the five-year carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings approved in 2022. However, they stress these improvements urgently need to be translated into substantive actions across all relevant sectors to actually reduce Ireland’s emissions.
Use of coal in power generation increased
The country’s agricultural policies continue to support intensification of livestock farming, which increases GHG emissions, harms water and air quality, and is a primary contributor to biodiversity loss in Ireland. The experts highlight the need to reduce use of reactive nitrogen in fertiliser and to pay for ecosystem services.
Government plans for offshore wind are substantial, and new schemes have been introduced in transport, microgeneration, and energy efficiency. Use of coal in power generation, however, has increased. Energy retrofits and solar photovoltaics are not being delivered at the necessary scale and not reaching those most at risk of energy poverty. Fossil gas infrastructure and gas connections are also still being promoted.
The government has accelerated the phase-out of peat in power generation and committed to supporting peatland restoration and rehabilitation. The experts, however, criticise that peat extraction from wetlands continues for horticultural use and export.
National experts that contributed to the policy evaluation of this year’s CCPI chose to remain anonymous