Ireland drops six spots to 43rd in this year’s CCPI, remaining a low performer.
The country receives a medium rating in the Renewable Energy and Energy Use categories and a low in Climate Policy and GHG Emissions.
Long-term strategy for phasing out fossil fuel infrastructure is missing
In 2022, Ireland’s government introduced legally binding five-year carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings. It also resolved a legislative framework with annually revised Climate Action Plans to align with the country’s 2030 net emissions reduction target of 51% in 2030 (compared with 2018 levels) and 100% in 2050.
Building on this, the CCPI country experts call for consistently implementing climate mitigation measures to meet the country’s legally binding commitments.
The experts also criticise that Ireland’s policies are missing a long-term strategy for phasing out fossil fuel infrastructure and shifting investments from natural gas towards an emissions-neutral energy supply. Rebound effects from (strongly promoted) economic growth in emissions-intensive sectors (such as agriculture and land use) cause absolute emissions to remain high. The chance to integrate clear sanctions into the framework was missed.
However, the CCPI experts welcome Ireland’s medium-term offshore wind and solar plans. They feel the country’s offshore wind offers considerable opportunities for capitalising on renewable energy and (over the long term) potential for electricity export. This year, a very competitive wind auction took place and support for solar photovoltaic (PV) technology was increased. Despite this, the experts criticise the slow rate of those auctions.
Existing policies must be implemented
The experts indicate that port infrastructure and grid strengthening are urgently needed to support medium-to-long-term offshore wind expansion and heating and transport electrification.
These issues increase the appeal of unsustainable biofuels, derived from grass specifically grown to generate biogas. The experts underscore that biofuel use is highly questionable given food competition and air pollution, among other effects.
The experts demand implementation of existing policies, more support for fair transformation of agriculture and land use, and clarification of immediate measures to meet Ireland’s legally binding national and international commitments.
National experts that contributed to the policy evaluation of this year’s CCPI chose to remain anonymous