At EU level, no agreement has yet been reached on the contribution of individual EU Member States to the EU’s 2030 climate change targets. Ireland continues to work closely with the European Commission and other Member States on developing national targets that represent a technically feasible, cost effective and fair sharing of the EU efforts to combat climate change.
Separately, negotiations are underway to develop a new global international climate change agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is envisaged that a new agreement will be adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015 and come into effect from 2020. The greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 40% agreed by EU leaders at the European Council meeting in October 2014 is the EU’s proposed contribution to the new global climate change agreement.
In January 2014, the European Commission published its Climate and Energy Framework 2030 which seeks to drive continued progress towards a low-carbon economy and build a competitive and secure energy system that ensures affordable energy for all consumers and increase the security of the EU’s energy supply. It proposes to achieve a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) by 2030 relative to 1990, and a binding EU-wide target for renewable energy of at least 27% by 2030.
At the meeting of the European Council in October 2014, political agreement was reached on the headline targets for the 2030 Climate & Energy Framework, namely:
(i) a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40%;
(ii) an increase in EU energy from renewable sources to 27%; and
(iii) an indicative target of 27% energy efficiency.
This equates to emissions reductions of 43% and 30% respectively for the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and non-ETS sectors on 2005 levels.
Non-ETS Effort sharing to 2030
Agreement on the mechanism through which the non-ETS burden would be shared among Member States between 2021 and 2030 was also sought at the European Council, with the proposal that the mechanism used in 2009 for apportioning effort to 2020 be continued.
EU leaders deferred talks however, on specific national targets until after a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled for Paris in December 2015, where world leaders are to set global targets to curb emissions after 2020.
The department continues to work with relevant Departments (including Environment, Transport, Agriculture) to ensure that the setting of any new targets for the period to 2030 is evidence based, affordable, fair and achievable. Ireland recognises the benefits of increasing the share of renewable energy in our fuel mix, both from the economic and environmental perspectives.