Geopolitical Informations

4.598 million (2013)
Total area
70,273 km2

Main legislative bodies

  • Oireachtas (Bicameral Parliament)

Latest News

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Chinese government on Tuesday (Dec.19) released details about the start of the long-awaited national carbon trading scheme, Reuters reports. Once operational, China’s ETS will read more...

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On the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate Agreement, the French presidency organized an international summit to increase climate financing to accelerate efforts to read more...

FOCUS: Carbon Markets within and beyond the Paris deal

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Climate Policy Facts


Year Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF ( MtCO2e) Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF Per Capita ( tCO2e Per Capita) Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF Per GDP ( tCO2e / Million $ GDP)
1990 53.79 15.31 729.15
1991 54.55 15.43 725.43
1992 54.81 15.4 705.35
1993 55.03 15.39 689.56
1994 56.44 15.72 668.75
1995 57.19 15.85 618.13
1996 58.61 16.11 577.41
1997 59.79 16.27 529.35
1998 62.28 16.77 506.2
1999 63.92 17.02 468.2
2000 65.65 17.25 434.59
2001 67.94 17.57 428.4
2002 66.7 16.96 398.98
2003 65.89 16.49 379.96
2004 66.64 16.37 368.78
2005 68 16.35 354.72
2006 69.06 16.16 341.45
2007 68.12 15.49 320.86
2008 66.91 14.9 322.13
2009 61.64 13.59 316.97
2010 61.19 13.42 318.04
2011 57.43 12.55 292.2

The line chart shows the country’s carbon emissions by year, expressed in million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) for emission totals, and in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) for per capita and per dollar of GDP values. It is based on data from CAIT platform provided by the World Resource Insititute, and updated regularly with the most recent data available.

By selecting or deselecting each item, you can compare or give prominence to particular emission trends.


Energy Source Production (ktoe) TPES (ktoe)
Coal 1445,885 2091,912
Oil 6183,433
Natural gas 283,174 4045,342
Hydro 49,708 49,708
Solar thermal 10,531 10,531
Solar photovoltaics
Tide, wave, ocean
Wind 390,526 390,526
Biomass 180,676 181,13
Biofuels 72,141 149,844
Waste 106,481 106,481

The double-doughnut chart shows the country’s energy production and TPES (Total Primary Energy Supply), expressed in thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). It is built on data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development/International Energy Agency libraries, and updated regularly with the most recent data available.

The INNER RING represents the country’s energy production from each energy source, corresponding to the quantities of fuels extracted or produced.

The OUTER RING shows the country’s total primary energy supply of each fuel. It represents the net quantities of fuels made available on the domestic market, after foreign transfers and trading. According to IEA’s definition, TPES equals production plus imports minus exports minus international bunkers plus or minus stock changes.

Differences between production and TPES are significant as they highlight the actual country’s behaviour in the matter of a given energy source. Production values and TPES values of the same energy source may vary widely, especially in case of the much-traded fossil fuels.

Energy data refers to year 2013.

National Policy

The EU Climate and Energy Package requires Ireland to contribute in delivering a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (relative to 2005 levels).


Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill (2015)
The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill reiterates Ireland’s long-run climate policy target, previously established by the National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development (2014). Ireland commits itself to turn into a competitive, low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. According to the document, Greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation is primarily addressed through the 2014 National Low-Carbon Roadmaps, while the National Climate Change Adaptation Frameworks focus on adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Finally, the Bill aims to establish the National Expert Advisory Council on Climate Change. Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill (2015) is available here in pdf version.

2050 National Low Carbon Roadmap (2014)
The 2050 National Low Carbon Roadmap is issued by the 2013 Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill. It establishes an overarching target of curbing CO2 emissions of at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. The document includes multiple sectorial roadmaps. Consequently, several fields such as the electricity generation, transport and agriculture are directly involved in the low-carbon transition. Each of these sectors is required to draft its own individual roadmap to limit GHG emissions. Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill (2013) is available here in pdf version.

National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012 (2007)
This National Plan replaces the first National Climate Change Strategy drafted by the Irish government in 2000. The 2007 strategy specifies how to achieve the Kyoto Protocol commitment. Additionally, the document indicates which climate policy measures will be addressed by the government in the five-year period and, subsequently, in the post-2012 scenario. Several fields, such as energy sector, agriculture, forestry and waste management are involved in the National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012. Finally, the document announces the creation of a Climate Change Commission. The latter advises the government in its pace towards turning Ireland into a low-carbon economy. Besides the aforementioned National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012, the Carbon Fund Act 2007, Number 12 of 2007, establishes a Carbon Fund to enable the acquisition of Kyoto Units.


Green Paper “Energy Policy in Ireland” (May 2014)
The 2014 Green Paper “Energy Policy in Ireland” aims to integrate the 2007 White Paper “Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland”. The Green Paper concerns energy policy priorities set by the Government from 2014 onwards and includes several guiding principles, policies and actions that aim to shape the Irish energy sector before 2020.

White Paper “Delivering a Sustainable Energy Future for Ireland” (2007)
The 2007 White Paper is the first comprehensive document in the field of energy policy published by the Irish government. It yearns for establishing the national energy policy framework from 2007 onwards, setting four broad objectives:
• Security of energy supply.
• Sustainability of energy supply and use.
• Competitiveness of energy supply.
• Integrated approach to deliver energy policy objectives.

To achieve these goals, the 2007 White Paper specifically portrays concrete targets that Ireland is supposed to meet before 2020. It establishes measures to curb GHG emissions and limit energy costs by promoting efficient energy use. Concerning renewable energy, the White Paper establishes the following 2020 targets:
• Achieving at least 500MW of installed ocean energy capacity.
• Optimising the deployment of solar energy in electricity and heating.
• Achieving a target of 12% renewable heat market penetration.
• Setting a biofuels penetration target of at least 10%.

Regarding energy efficiency, the 2020 goal set by the White Paper includes the achievement of 20% savings in energy across the electricity, transport and heating sectors.

In the first quarter of 2015, Ireland started drafting the next White Paper, which will substitute the one released in 2007.

The Sustainable Energy Act (2002)
The Sustainable Energy Act of 2002 establishes the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). SEAI yearns for helping transform Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices through four main functions:
• Enhancing environmentally and economically sustainable production, supply and use of energy.
• Supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
• Promoting and assisting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the production, supply and use of energy.
• Helping minimise the effect on the environment of the production, supply and use of energy.


Ireland transposed into Irish law through the SI 483 of 2014  the Directive 2009/28/EC on promoting the use of energy from renewable sources. The latter assigns to the country an overall mitigation target of 16% share of energy generated from renewable sources in gross final energy consumption by 2020. According to the 2010 National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), three sectors contribute in achieving the renewable energy aim:
• Transport, with 10% of energy demand met by renewable energy sources.
• Electricity, with 42.5% of electricity demand met by electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
• Heating and cooling, with 12% of heat consumption met by renewable sources.

Aiming to achieve the aforementioned targets, Ireland has set out further regulations for the renewables deployment.

Draft Bioenergy Plan (2014)
The 2014 Draft Bioenergy Plan illustrates the national approach to bioenergy resources as a way to enhance economic development and sustainable growth. The document is divided in two sections. The first part defines the policy context in which the Irish Bioenergy sector is supposed to develop. The following section represents the necessary steps the government will undertake to support its bioenergy sector.

Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) (2014)
OREDP aims specifically at supporting the development of Irish offshore renewable energy resources. In particular, the scheme focuses on the indigenous production of renewable electricity. This project identifies opportunities for developing and incrementing offshore energy resources to generate renewable electricity. Additionally, OREDP establishes a functional policy framework for offshore renewable energy, spanning energy, planning, environmental monitoring, infrastructure (grid and ports) and economic development.

2012-2020 Strategy for Renewable Energy (2012)
The 2012-2020 Strategy for Renewable energy represents the Irish government’s manifesto in the field of renewable energy. Five are the broad goals the country aims to achieve before 2020:
• Progressively increasing the share of renewable electricity generated by onshore and offshore wind power.
• Developing a sustainable Bioenergy sector and supporting renewable heat and power generation with proper policy measures.
• Ensuring green growth through research and development of renewable technologies.
• Achieving a more sustainable transport sector through the use of biofuels and electrification.
• Implementing an effective and cost efficient energy networks system.

For each of this goal, the 2012-2020 plan provides important measures the Government intends to implement during that timeframe.

Amendments to the scheme Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT) (February 2012) – Originally established in 2005
Founded in 2005, the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff represents the main support scheme for renewable electricity. This mechanism replaced the Alternative Energy Requirement Programme. REFIT is characterized by a threefold structure, due to two amendments undertaken in 2012. REFIT 1 aims at providing long- and short-term financial support to encourage new capacity development in individual categories and to sustain the improvement of emerging ocean energy technologies. REFIT 2, established in 2012, enlarges the number of sectors that benefit from this support mechanism. The second strand of this scheme includes onshore wind, small hydro and landfill gas. Finally, the Irish government introduces REFIT 3 in February 2012, as a financial support mechanism exclusively dedicated to biomass technologies.

REFIT 1 available here in pdf version.

REFIT 2 available here in pdf version.

REFIT 3 available here in pdf version.

Energy Act (Miscellaneous Provisions) 2012
The Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 2012 emends the Biofuels Obligation Scheme (2010). The act creates a Biofuel Obligation to help Ireland accomplish the targets imposed by the Renewable Energy Directive. According to the Act, oil companies supplying road transport fuels must ensure that biofuels represent a 6% share of their annual fuel sales.


The 2006 EU Energy Services Directive (ESD) requires member states to achieve a 1% per annum energy-efficiency improvement, resulting in a cumulative target of a 9% improvement in energy efficiency by 2016.
Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) obliges EU countries to achieve energy savings each year from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020 of 1.5% of the annual energy sales to final customers. Ireland transposes the directive through the SI 426 of 2014 and SI 131 of 2014. Furthermore, in 2014, the country adopts the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme  to fulfil its energy efficiency goals.

Third National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP III) (2014)
NEEAP III represents the main policy document issued by the Irish government to achieve the target of 20% energy efficiency savings before 2020. The third NEEAP establishes several energy efficiency measures divided by sector to contribute towards the national energy efficiency 2020 target. Previously, Irish policy-makers set NEEAP II in 2013 and NEEAP I in 2007.

Better Buildings: A National Renovation Strategy for Ireland (2014)
The Irish government drafted the 2014 National Renovation Strategy to fulfil its obligation under Article IV of the Energy Efficiency Directive. The latter requires member states to define a national scheme for encouraging investment flows in building renovation projects. Consequently, the National Renovation Strategy sets out policies and measures to improve irish buildings’ energy efficiency and curb their CO2 emissions.

Better Energy: The National Upgrade Programme (2011)
Launched by the Irish government in 2011, the Better Energy Programme includes multiple sub-mechanisms, such as the Better Energy Homes scheme, the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme, the Better Energy Warmer Homes Area based programme and the Better Energy Communities programme. Better Energy supports energy efficiency upgrades in low-income housing. Additionally, it encourages improvements in commercial and public buildings through the provision of financial sustain. The programme is administered by SEAI.


Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future: A New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009-2020 (2009)
Smarter Travel represents the guideline drafted by the Irish government to make its transport sector more sustainable before 2020. Ireland aims to minimise the negative impact of transport on local and global environment through a substantial cut in air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the country yearns for enhancing its energy security by reducing dependency on imported fossil fuels. The document identifies a roadmap to achieve these goals. It sets key targets and related actions necessary to ensure that sustainable travel and transport is in place by 2020.


Agriculture is the largest single contributor to GHG emissions in Ireland. The Government has set multiple measures to make this sector more environmental-friendly. The 2014 National Low Carbon Roadmap imposes the agriculture and forestry field to draft its roadmap in order to contribute in the process of limiting GHG emissions of at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. Regarding specifically the land use and forestry sector, Ireland drafts its Afforestation Scheme in 2012. One year before, the Programme for Government commits to the development of the forestry and bio-energy sector through the creation of a new state company called BioEnergy. Furthermore, it launches an annual 14,700 ha afforestation programme.


Two are the key measures adopted by the Irish government over the least years to improve the waste management sector. The 2012 A Resource Opportunity: Waste Management Policy In Ireland identifies key actions that Ireland will undertake to progressively become a more recycling society. The document mainly addresses resource efficiency and the reduction of landfilling of municipal waste.


Ireland adopted the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework in December 2012. The Framework aims to provide a strategic policy focus to ensure adaptation measures are taken across different sectors and levels of government. The objectives of the framework are to provide the policy context for a strategic national adaptation response to climate change, promote a dialogue and understanding of adaptation issues, identify and promote adaptation solutions, and commit to actions to support the adaptation process. Responsibility to prepare sectoral and local adaptation plans is delegated under the Framework to relevant government departments, agencies and local authorities.

Additionally, Section 5 – National Adaptation Framework of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 calls for the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to create a National Climate Change Adaptation Framework within one year and to update it at least once every five years. The process must include public consultation. The according to the new legislation, the Framework should “specify the national strategy for the application of adaptation measures in different sectors and by a local authority in its administrative area for the purpose of reducing the vulnerability of the State to the negative effects of climate change and availing of positive effects of climate change that may occur.” Section 6 – Sectoral Adaptation Plans of the 2015 Bill calls for sectoral adaptation plans specifying policy measures to be made by relevant Ministers of the Government.

International Policy

General features

  • Party to the UNFCCC (Annex I):
    • Date of signature: 13 June 1992
    • Date of ratification: 20 April 1994
    • Date of entry into force: 19 July 1994
  • Member of the Kyoto Protocol:
    • Date of signature: 29 April 1998
    • Date of ratification: 31 May 2002
    • Date of entry into force: 16 February 2005
  • Signatory of the Copenhagen Accord.
  • Member of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • Member of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • Part of the EU ETS.


Negotiating position

The 2014 National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development shapes the Irish negotiating stance. Ireland recognizes its existing and future obligations under international agreements. Additionally, the country restates its commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Irish government stresses the importance of developing solid international and regional programs to tackle climate change. As part of the EU, Ireland agreed on the domestic 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 40% compared to 1990 (2030 Framework Climate and Energy Policies). At the global level, Ireland supports a comprehensive international response to climate change, and global transition to a low-carbon future. Concerning the UNFCCC COP21, Ireland backs the EU’s INDC for international climate negotiations.