Ireland's Kyoto Commitment

Broadly speaking, Ireland is on track to meet its commitment under the Kyoto Protocol second commitment period. That said, emissions of greenhouse gases in Ireland in 2012 were 57.92 Mt CO2eq. This represented an increase of 1.0% (0.58 Mt CO2eq) on emissions in 2011 and reversed a trend of decreasing emissions since 2006 (EPA, 2013).

Whilst the overall reduction in the distance to target for the Kyoto Protocol period is a positive outcome, its occurrence is primarily a direct result of the current economic recession and economic outlook for the future (EPA, 2013). In order to meet future targets, Ireland needs to develop as a low carbon economy rather than rely on recession. More detailed information on Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions projections can be found here.



In quantitative terms, Ireland 's total allowable emissions, or assigned amount in the first Kyoto period, was 314.18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. This converts to an average of 62.8 million tonnes annually for the five years. Although Ireland is on track to meet its Kyoto second commitment period targets, there continues to be a significant risk that Ireland will not meet them even under the most ambitious emission reduction scenario. There is projected to be a cumulative distance to target of 7 – 24 Mtonnes for the period 2013-2020 with Ireland breaching its annual limits in 2015-2016 (EPA, 2013). Strong projected growth in emissions from transport and agriculture are the key contributors to this trend.

Beyond 2020, Ireland does not have a definite policy direction on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 aims to provide a clear pathway for emissions reductions, in line with negotiated EU 2020 targets.


Ireland's Distance to its GHG Kyoto Target.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Kyoto Protocol Limit (EPA, 2014).

Each year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates the actual emissions for the entire country. The latest report on greenhouse gas emissions for the EPA is available here. The emission trends within the various sectors of the Irish economy are shown on the following pages.

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