About

Ireland joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in 2013 and since then has engaged in the CCAC’s HFC Initiative and Global Green Freight Action Plan.

In 2021, Ireland published the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill. The Bill will establish a legally binding framework with clear targets and commitments set in law, including a commitment to achieve, no later than 2050, the transition to a climate-resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally sustainable and climate-neutral economy. The Bill establishes a system of 5-year economy-wide carbon budgets including sectoral targets that will provide a limit for total greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bill was approved by Government in March 2021. An eight-week National Dialogue on Climate Action was launched on the same day. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Michéal Martin, said: "This is a landmark day for Ireland. We all know that Climate Change is already happening, and the time to act is now. The Bill we are publishing today affirms our ambition to be a global leader in this field. As we begin our journey towards net zero emissions, the government is committed to tackling the challenges, and embracing the opportunities, this transition can bring our economy, our society and our country. We must continue to act, across Government, as there is no time to waste when it comes to securing our future."

Also in 2021, it was announced that Ireland will now report greenhouse gas emissions and removals from managed wetlands (and including bogs) as part of progress towards EU greenhouse gas targets

In addition, the public is being invited to take part in the consultation for the design of the next Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme. The new scheme will build on the obligation scheme that has been in place since 2014 and will contribute significantly to the delivery of Ireland’s energy saving target under the revised EU Energy Efficiency Directive. The scheme will also support the delivery of Ireland’s broader national climate ambition.

In 2019, Ireland released a Climate Action Plan which outlines its climate ambitions from 2021-2030 and includes the actions needed for Ireland to comply with its 2030 emissions targets.  

The European Commission’s proposal for the first European Climate Law aims to write into law the goal set out in the European Green Deal – for Europe’s economy and society to become climate-neutral by 2050. As part of the European Climate Law, the Commission has recently agreed a new EU 2030 emissions target of at least a 55% reduction from 1990 emissions levels by 2030 in compliance with the European Union's updated NDC.  This is a significant increase from the current EU 2030 target of a 40% reduction on 1990 levels. This new EU target will mean an increase to Ireland’s national 2030 targets, which are to be proposed by the Commission by June 2021.

Ireland has welcomed and is supportive of the development of a European Climate Law. It is consistent with the national approach as the Programme for Government commits to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, and to achieving net zero emissions by no later than 2050. This 2050 commitment will be set in law by the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 which was published on 23 March 2021.

The Climate Action Plan is currently being updated to reflect even greater ambition in the Programme for Government and the 2021 update will be published later this year.

In Ireland, Agriculture remains the single largest contributor to overall emissions at 34% of the total. In response, Ireland is making large contributions towards climate-smart agricultural practices, particularly in the reduction of biogenic methane emissions, which comprise 65% of the country's agricultural emissions. In the 2020 Ag-Climatise strategy, , Ireland lays out a roadmap for reducing emissions of ammonia and biogenic methane to zero by 2050 through investment in manure management, low emissions slurry spreading, feed additives and improving the digestibility and quality of feed. The next 2021 Climate Action Plan will further evolve the role agriculture and the agri-food industry play in supporting Ireland’s climate ambitions, and responsibilities.

The EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) found that Ireland’s food production systems provide for some of the lowest carbon footprint profiles across the EU on a per unit basis. To-date efficiencies have lowered both the emissions intensity of the food produced and have also contributed to reductions in absolute agricultural emissions.

Research is critical in progressing state of art technologies to improve both the carbon efficiency and climate resilience of Irish agriculture. Irish agricultural GHG research is focused on developing an improved understanding of the key processes involved in the production of methane and N2O emissions; identifying promising  mitigation options  (such as dietary strategies, manure management, fertiliser technologies as well as researching future technologies; quantifying the carbon sequestration potential of agricultural soils).

Ireland is a member of the Global Research Alliance (GRA) on agricultural greenhouse gases and co-chairs its Livestock Research Group (LRG). The country also supports research to reduce methane emissions from Irish agricultural systems, funding the "METH-ABATE" programme, in collaboration between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the "METHLAB" programme.

Ireland aims to reduce their F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030 in comparison with 2009-2012 levels, in accordance with EU regulations.

Independent of the CCAC’s Household Energy Initiative, Irish Aid has provided support for cookstove projects in Malawi and Ethiopia. With their aid, Malawi announced that they had implemented 2 million clean cookstoves by the end of 2020.

In 2015, Ireland committed to provide 175 million EUR to climate financing between 2016 and 2020. Ireland successfully met this commitment by 2018. As part of the first replenishment of the Green Climate Fund for the period 2020 to 2023, Ireland committed to double its annual contribution, providing a total of 16 million EUR for the period.  Moving forward, Ireland has expressed that they will put more emphasis on climate support and funding for small island developing countries and least developed states, making climate action a core theme in all new Irish Aid. A multi-annual funding strategy is expected to be put in place in 2021 to guide continued progress in reaching the commitment to double the percentage of official development assistance that is climate finance by 2030 set out in A Better World and in the Programme for Government.

Find out more about Ireland’s climate and clean air action below. 

CCAC activities

Activity | Health
Ongoing
BreatheLife is a global campaign that mobilizes cities and individuals to take action on air pollution to protect our health and the planet. The campaign is led by the World Health Organization (WHO...
BreatheLife

Other activities

Agriculture

  • 2014 – 2020 – Ireland's Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) (part of Rural Development Programme 2014-2020) encouraged farmers to promote biodiversity, protect water quality, and combat climate change through payments to qualified farmers.
  • 2015 – 2020 – The  Beef Data Genomics Programme implemented as a national initiative ongoing at the farm level to contribute to reduction of GHG emissions from the livestock sector.
  • 2018 – Teagasc (the State Agency providing research, advisory and education in agriculture, horticulture, food and rural development in Ireland) produced Ireland’s first Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for greenhouse gas mitigation identifying potential measures focused in the areas of agricultural mitigation, land use mitigation (mainly carbon sequestration) and energy mitigation. In 2020 they also produced a marginal abatement cost curve for ammonia emissions.
  • 2020 – Irish government increases engagement with stakeholders to maximise the potential for anaerobic digestion and use of biomethane as renewable energy source.
  • 2021 – Ireland expressed interest in further engagement with The Methane Protocol initiative, hosted by the Under2 Coalition, by implementing sustainable food strategies.
  • Ireland provides financial support to the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Transportation

  • Ireland ended the purchase of diesel-only buses in July 2019.
  • Ongoing –Hybrid busses are now operating in the public bus fleet in Dublin.  Trials are underway on the use of other low emission sources and new technologies in the public transport fleet
  • Ongoing – Grants and changes to the Vehicle Registration Tax regime have been put in place to provide support for the purchases of EV’s
  • 2012 – 2016 - Building on Recovery reported 3.6 billion EUR going towards improvements on public transport systems, including a new light rail, renewal and replacement of bus fleets, extending electrification of the rail network and improving overall bus and rail networks and capacity.
  • 2009 – 2020 - 100 million EUR funding for the Smarter Travel programme encouraging alternate modes of transport (walking and cycling) into the city centre of Dublin

Waste

  • Ireland’s first municipal solid waste (MSW) waste-to-energy facility came into operation in 2011, and its second waste-to-energy facility treated waste for the first time on June 1, 2017 as part of its commissioning phase. It is now fully operational and will treat up to 600,000 tonnes of MSW per year.
  • 2020 – A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy was launched. The plan includes halving our food waste by 2030, the introduction of a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and cans, a ban on certain single use plastics from July 2021, and a levy on disposable cups. Other measures include applying green criteria and circular economy principles in all public procurement, a waste recovery levy to encourage recycling, and ensuring all packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2030.
  • 2019 - National Waste Prevention Programme implemented to support national-level, strategic programmes to prevent waste and drive circular economy.
  • 2015 - Three Regional Waste Management Plans published in May 2015 focus on preventing waste generation and viewing waste streams as valuable resources with three over-arching targets: 1% reduction per year in the quantity of household waste generated per capita over the period of the plans, recycling rate of 50% of managed municipal waste by 2020, reduction to 0% the direct disposal of residual MSW to landfill in favour of higher value pre-treatment processes and indigenous recovery practices.

Climate & Environmental Finance

  • Ongoing - Ireland provides an annual contribution to the Multilateral Fund of the MP of just over EUR 600,000/year to supports developing countries to implement the provisions of the MP.
  • Ireland has entered multi-annual funding arrangements to the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility.
  • Domestically, a significant increase in funding for environmental NGOs was announced in January 2021. Funding this year will be EUR 1,764,000 – an increase of EUR 704,000 on the level of funding provided in 2020.
  • In 2018, the National Treasury Management Agency issued the first set of Irish Sovereign Green Bonds.  The proceeds from the issuance are allocated against eligible green projects that address climate action and mitigation. 
  • The additional funding of €2 million for the Green Climate Fund 2020 contribution was made available through increases in the carbon tax under Budget 2020.
  • The Irish Government announced an increase to the rate of carbon tax in its Budget for 2021.The amount of the tax is expected to increase by €7.50/tonne per annum until it reaches €100/tonne in 2030.

Air quality
  

  • The capital city of Dublin is a member of the CCAC’s BreatheLife Campaign. The city has made progress in eliminating large sources of air pollution already and has noted that they have shifted focus to emissions from the transport sector. The Climate Action Plan lays out some groundwork for this initiative such as expanding the network of cycle paths and “Park and Ride” facilities, as well as participating in the Low Carbon Sustainable Rail Transport Challenge. In an associated campaign, citizens of Dublin are being urged to be “Climate Brave”, to assist in efforts to make Dublin a carbon-neutral city.
  • Ireland will publish its first National Clean Air Strategy (CAS) during 2021. The Strategy will provide the policy framework necessary to identify and promote the integrated measures and actions across Government that are required to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner air, while delivering on wider national objectives. Synergies will be maximized between the CAS and existing plans such as the Climate Action Plan and the National Energy and Climate Plan, with a view to achieving lasting reductions in the health and environmental impacts of air pollution in the most effective manner.
  • The Urban Transport-Related Air Pollution (UTRAP) working group was established in 2019 in response to concerns over air quality in Dublin. The group includes representatives from Government Departments; environmental, health and transport agencies; Local Authorities, and additional key stakeholders. Its functions include reviewing and identifying best-practice measures to reduce transport-related air pollution in Irish cities and towns, and developing an evidence-based national policy framework within which Local Authorities can address urban transport-related emissions.  An interim report will be published shortly. This report will offer recommendations to address the issue of nitrogen oxide in urban areas.
  • In February 2021, Ireland submitted to the European Commission its second National Air Pollution Control Programme, as required by the EU National Emissions Ceiling Directive (Directive EU 2016/2284). This is a technical document which analyses progress to date in meeting Ireland’s emissions reductions targets for five key air pollutants, and the expected impact in future years of both existing and additional measures.
  • As part of ongoing efforts to reduce air pollution caused by the use of solid fuels, Ireland introduced 13 new Low Smoke Zones in September 2020, where the sale, marketing, distribution and burning of bituminous coal is prohibited. This ban now applies in all of Ireland’s cities and all towns with populations in excess of 10,000 people. Work is progressing during 2021 on further regulating the sale and use of solid fuels in Ireland, with a public consultation period commenced in February. It is anticipated that work on drafting new regulations will begin later in 2021.
  • Ireland continues to expand its national Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (AAMP), which is operated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The network has grown from 29 monitoring stations in 2017 to 90, as of March 2021. In addition, through the development of modelling and forecasting, the EPA will have the opportunity to add further value to the data collected by the new network.  This capacity will enable the provision of information for locations between monitoring stations and provide the opportunity to identify the source of poor air quality. Modelling will pave the way for the provision of an operational air quality forecast model, for the first time in Ireland. An ambient air quality forecast will inform the public in advance of the predicted air quality and enable choices to be made regarding work and leisure activities. This is particularly important for those who are vulnerable from a health perspective. 

Related resources

Address

Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications
29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin, D02 X285
Ireland

Initiatives

Back to Top