Latest publication: Carbon Budgets for Ireland

A carbon budget represents the total amount of emissions that may be emitted in the State during a five-year period, measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. It is calculated on an economy-wide basis. As part of its work, the Climate Change Advisory Council of Ireland (CCAC)  is responsible for proposing three five-year economy-wide carbon budgets, covering the periods 2021-2025, 2026-2030 and 2031-2035, to assist the State in achieving its national climate objectives and greenhouse gas emissions targets agreed by the European Union.

The first three carbon budgets cover the following five-year periods: 2021 to 2025, 2026 to 2030, and 2031 to 2035 (although the budget for the third period is provisional). All greenhouse gas emissions and all relevant sectors are included in the carbon budgets.

They are as follows:

  • 2021-2025: 295 Mt COeq. an average of -4.8% for the first budget period.
  • 2026-2030: 200 Mt COeq. an average of -8.3% for the second budget period.
  • 2031-2035: 151 Mt COeq. an average of -3.5% for the third provisional budget.


carbon budgets figure 5

The above graph represents the proposed carbon budgets in the context of recent historic emissions, and the EPA “With Additional Measures” projections of emissions based on the implementation of the 2019 Climate Action Plan.

In 2018, Ireland’s emissions could be broken down by sector as follows:

Ireland  EU
Energy 54.2% 82.3%
Industrial Processes 4.7% 9.4%
Agriculture 32.6% 11.0%
Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry 7.0% -6.4%
Waste 1.4% 3.7%

What happens next?

The carbon budget programme is presented to the Oireachtas by the Minister of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

Once adopted by the Oireachtas, the Minister will use each carbon budget to prepare sectoral emissions ceilings for relevant sectors of the economy. On final agreement of these sectoral emissions ceilings by Government it will then be for sectors to determine which mitigation options are best placed to serve their needs in terms of delivering on their new commitments.

Every year, the Climate Change Advisory Council will undertake a review of progress made against these carbon budgets. The review will assess reductions achieved in GHG emissions, compliance with the carbon budget, and every sectoral emissions ceiling for that period.

The Council’s Technical Report on Carbon Budgets  sets out in more detail how these various considerations were taken into account.