While Ireland moves up two places in the rankings, to 39th, the country remains in the low performance category overall in this year’s CCPI.
Ireland remains stable in the Renewable Energy category, showing high performance, and in the Energy Use category, with a medium rating. The country, however, ranks very low in GHG Emissions. The improvement in Ireland’s overall performance is based on the rating national experts give to the country’s new climate policies, leading to a jump of 11 spots in that category.
This improvement is largely rooted in changes to government policies. Ireland has considerable potential for improvement if these translate into concrete actions. Experts acknowledge the new coalition government’s commitment to greater climate ambition. This begins with a climate law that will strengthen the governance framework for climate action. It includes 5-year emissions budgets and a commitment to cut emissions by 51% by 2030 (an average 7% annually). Ireland has a renewable electricity target of 70% by 2030, though experts note that neither small-scale installations nor renewable heat generation have been accelerated as planned. Also, despite new funding commitments for peat restoration, peatlands are still being mined for horticultural use and fuel. There is no set end date for the coal and peat phase-out and plant closures are taking place haphazardly. While experts see major deficiencies in the country’s emissions reduction efforts in the transport and heat sectors, agriculture remains the biggest laggard sector for Ireland’s low-rated national climate policy. State support for the intensification and expansion of dairy production continues, leading to high and increasing use of reactive nitrogen in fertiliser and feed, resulting in rising methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Finally, while early indications suggest the new government is returning Ireland to a more progressive position on EU climate policy, this is not the case for its position on agriculture, explaining Ireland’s medium rating for international climate policy.
The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Sadhbh O Neill (Stop Climate chaos).