Ireland Ireland

Ireland ranks 46th in this year’s CCPI, remaining in the low performance category.

In the GHG Emissions category, Ireland remains among the very low performers. It also receives a low rating in the Climate Policy category. Ireland’s national climate policy is still rated as low as although new policies have been developed, they have not yet been fully adopted and implemented. As it did last year, the country receives a high rating in the Renewable Energy category and a medium rating in Energy Use.

The Ireland CCPI experts acknowledge the progress being made with the new Climate Act passed in 2021 and other positive commitments. The new Act serves as a framework for improved climate action and includes 5-year emission budgets and a commitment to a 51% emissions cut (vs. 2018 levels) by 2030, as well as improved governance and accountability measures. The experts do, however, highlight risks associated with weak implementation across Government. Other risks include the risk of fossil gas lock-in from increasing demand due to projected data centres development, as well as the potential for lower action in the agriculture sector to result in increasing pressure on the rest of society. Broad and systematic dialogue with all relevant stakeholders and communities is essential in this regard. Other major shortcomings are described in the transport, and forestry sectors.

Additionally, Ireland, as mentioned, exhibits very low performance in the GHG Emissions category, with a high current GHG per capita level of 13.1 tCO2eq/capita. The main demand the experts expressed for are climate action plans to align with the Paris Agreement so that Ireland does its fair share and endeavours to reach net-zero emissions before 2050, an increased focus on ending fossil fuel heating in homes through comprehensive retrofitting programmes particularly for those at risk of fuel poverty. Additionally a phase-out plan for fossil fuel subsidies and implementation and transition of Ireland’s climate goals across all relevant sectors is demanded. Ireland now plays a more progressive role in international climate policy. Experts call for increased engagement in initiatives (e.g. Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance), climate finance, and for the country to follow an ambitious carbon target aligned with the Paris Agreement.

National experts that contributed to the policy evaluation of this year’s CCPI chose to remain anonymous.

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.