Ireland and Climate Change Mitigation


Climate change is the major issue of our time and researchers from a range of disciplines are called on to offer insights to address the problem from understanding climate denialism and disinformation, the role of the media in communicating climate change, and capacity of deliberation to advance democratic policy making for climate action. FuJo has undertaken research in all these areas. This post takes stock of Ireland’s climate commitments and the potential impact of climate change here.

Global temperatures are increasing, and this hits Ireland as well. Ireland is already experiencing the effects of climate change, with an annual rise in surface air temperature of 0.8% since 1900. In addition to rising temperatures, Ireland is experiencing greater rainfall and sea-level rise, as well as increases in the degree of extreme weather such as storms, flooding, and drought. Storm Ophelia in 2017 and the Beast from the East in 2018 are two examples of severe weather.

In order to decrease or even stop the production of hazardous greenhouse gases, mitigation entails making changes to the way we travel, eat, heating our homes, and make products. It also covers the way we utilise our land. Mitigation is “a human intervention to minimize the source or improve the sinks of greenhouse gases,” according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its 2014 Summary for Policy Makers Report. According to a Eurobarometer study conducted in 2021, over a 1/3 of Irish respondents (31%) said that climate change was the most significant global issue. In Ireland, 94% of respondents agreed that by 2050, the European economy should be climate-neutral. However the 2022 European Semester Country Report for Ireland noted that significant improvement must be made if Ireland is to reach its climate goals in this decade. A road map for placing Ireland on a more sustainable track is provided by the country’s 2021 Climate Action Plan. The action plan contributes to the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be crossed this century unless significant reductions in CO2 and other GHG emissions take place in the upcoming decades, according to the Climate Action Plan 2023 (CAP23), that’s the second yearly update to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019. The analysis concludes that, on average during the next 20 years, the global temperature is likely to reach or surpass 1.5°C of warming and that, between 1850 and 1900, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities have contributed to an increase in global temperature of around 1.1°C. It predicts that, under all possible emission scenarios, the global average surface temperature would continue to rise through at least the middle of the century. Unless there are significant decreases in other GHG emissions and CO2 over the next several decades, the 1.5°C and 2°C global warming thresholds will be breached this century.

Climate change is predicted to have a broad variety of and far-reaching effects on Ireland’s society, environment, and economic growth, including effects on natural and managed ecosystems, food security and agriculture, water resources, costal zones and human health. Floods, droughts, and storms are some of the extreme weather events that create the most immediate hazards to Ireland from climate change. Ireland first formal five-year National Adaptation Framework (NAF)73, which was released in January 2018, outlines Ireland’s principal adaptation policy response to these difficulties. The NAF identified 12 important industries that require sectoral adaptation strategies. In October 2019, the government authorised and released these proposals. Ireland still has to do a lot of effort to reach its climate goals in spite of these measures and initiatives. In order to make sure that its policies are effective and that the nation is on track to fulfil its carbon reduction objectives, some critics have said that the government has to take further steps. In order to decrease dependency on automobiles, they have also advocated for more investment in infrastructure for cycling and public transportation as well as more bold renewable energy goals. Hence, Ireland can contribute to solving the global climate issue and protecting its people, environment, and economy with continuous commitment and work from all stakeholders.