The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions projections for the period 2022-2040. EPA analysis shows that planned climate policies and measures, if fully implemented, could deliver up to 29% emissions reduction by 2030 compared to 2018, a reduction of 4% each year from 2022 to 2030. This is insufficient to achieve the ambition of 51% emissions reduction in Ireland’s Climate Act.

The first two carbon budgets (2021-2030), which aim to support achievement of the 51% emissions reduction goal, are projected to be exceeded by a significant margin of between 24% and 34%. 

All sectors – except residential buildings – projected to underperform

All sectors, except residential buildings, are projected to underperform relative to the sectoral emissions ceilings. Agriculture, electricity, transport and industry sectors are projected to be the furthest from their sectoral ceiling in 2030.

Laura Burke, EPA director general and Engineers Ireland vice-president, said: “Ireland will miss its 2030 climate targets unless all sectors of the economy deliver emission reductions in the short term and sustain this delivery into the future.

"We’re in the third year of the first carbon budget period, with only seven more years left to 2030. A continued lack of delivery of large-scale practical actions to decarbonise activities in all sectors will see us exceed our carbon budgets. 

Importantly, in preparing these projections, it was not possible for the EPA to include all actions in Climate Action Plan 2023 – such as diversification of agriculture and decarbonisation of construction materials – more detail is needed on the how and the when of the delivery of these actions.

“Ireland needs to grasp the nettle of climate action so it can realise the significant opportunities and social and economic co-benefits for people, communities and business that can be delivered through innovation and decarbonisation. “

The impact of measures on a sectoral basis include:


Total emissions from the agriculture sector are projected to decrease by between 4% and 20% over the period 2021 to 2030. Savings are projected from a variety of measures including switching to different fertilisers, limits on nitrogen fertiliser usage and bovine feed additives. The higher ambition scenario assumes that most of the measures outlined in Climate Action Plan 2023, AgClimatise and Teagasc (MACC) are in place.


Emissions from the sector are projected to reduce by 35% over the period 2021 to 2030 if the measures set out in plans and policies are implemented. These include more than 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, increased biofuel blend rates and measures to support more sustainable transport. Road freight is projected to be the biggest source of road transport greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. 


Continued dependency on coal use as a result of unavailability of sufficient gas-fired generation, recent geopolitical events and the slow implementation of renewable electricity targets has undone some of the good work of recent years. This could negatively impact achievement of national targets, particularly for the first carbon budget period. Despite this, increased renewable energy generation, from wind and solar, if delivered as planned, can reduce Energy Industry emissions by 60% and achieve more than 80% renewable electricity generation by 2030.


Manufacturing combustion emissions are projected to reduce by between 6% and 22% from 2021 to 2030 with the implementation of efficiency measures and renewable heat generation. However industrial process emissions are projected to increase by 5% from 2021 to 2030 due to anticipated increased cement production.

Land use

Emissions from the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector are projected to increase over the period 2021 to 2030 as our forestry reaches harvesting age and changes from a carbon sink to a carbon source. Planned policies and measures for the sector, such as increased afforestation, water table management on agricultural organic soils and peatland rehabilitation, are projected to reduce the extent of the emissions increase.


Emissions from the Residential sector are projected to decrease by 36% to 47% between 2021 and 2030 with Commercial and Public Services sector emissions projected to decrease by 19% to 49%. Measures projected to achieve this include biomethane used for heating, energy efficiency retrofits and the installation of heat pumps in residential homes.

Stephen Treacy, EPA senior manager, said: “These projections show that strong economic growth and associated energy demand are eroding the increased ambition in the 2023 Climate Action Plan. This underlines the urgency of moving to an economy and society powered by renewable energy sources. The longer we wait, the longer it will be before we realise the benefits as the time horizon for achievement of national and EU commitments is getting ever shorter.”

See full detail on the Greenhouse Gas Emission Projections 2022 to 2040 and EPA Greenhouse Gas web resource on the EPA website.