Ireland’s 2020 target is to achieve a 20% reduction of non-ETS sector emissions on 2005 levels with annual binding limits set for each year over the period 2013-2020.The EPA produces GHG emission projections on an annual basis for all sectors of the economy. According to the latest projections produced by the EPA (March 2016), projected emissions for 2020 indicate that Ireland’s emissions at that stage could be in the range of 6-11% below 2005 levels. The likely outcome will be closer to 6%, representing a significant shortfall in terms of reaching the 20% reduction in 2020. This reflects both our reduced investment capacity over the period of the economic downturn, as well as the fact that the target itself was misinformed and not consistent with what was achievable on an EU wide cost-effective basis.
In the interim, the EPA projections suggest that Ireland may have a cumulative deficit of units in 2018. Some of this deficit can be addressed by means of the retirement of Annual Emissions Allocations and units from the Kyoto Protocol Flexibility Mechanisms carried forward from 2008- 2012. Over the period 2013-2020, the EPA projections for non-ETS GHG emissions are 350 Mt CO2eq, indicating a ‘gap to target’ of 12 Mt CO2eq. It is clear that further policies and measures beyond those that are already in place will be necessary to address compliance with Ireland’s obligations under the 2009 ESD, in the first instance, but also to ensure that Ireland is on a sound pathway to permanent and incremental decarbonisation to achieve the national transition objective, specified in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.