Ireland ranks second last in Europe in fighting climate change, new report finds

Published by Asmae Ourkiya on

June 18th, 2018

Ireland is ranked as the second worst EU country in fighting climate change according to a new report released today.

The report from Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe gave Ireland a total score of 21 per cent on fighting climate change, making it one of the only three EU countries that scored less than 30 per cent along with Estonia (24 per cent) and Poland (16 per cent).

The country’s low rating is threatening its future climate action performances, the report states, as we are set to miss its 2020 climate and renewable energy targets. Ireland is also “off-course” for its “unambitious” 2030 emissions target”.

With only eight per cent of progress in implementing the 2020 targets, the report estimates that Ireland will be facing  “annual non-compliance costs of around €500 million” if it does not take immediate and efficient action.

Ireland’s “stiff opposition to climate action nationally and in the EU” is the reason behind its low ranking, and is advised by the report to support “stronger climate action because of the numerous co-benefits of speeding up the transition”.

Other countries, including Luxembourg, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands, reached higher rankings due to their determination and recognition of the EU climate policy’s importance, the report states.

Although Sweden ranked on top of the assessed EU countries, the top position of the ranking remains unoccupied due to the lack of sufficient performances.

Wendel Trio, the Director of CAN Europe, said that most of the EU countries are failing to meet the Paris agreement’s objective due to their act of willingness to act on climate.

Industrial Emissions Photo: Dirk Duckhorn

Industrial Emissions Photo: Dirk Duckhorn


The report provides a number of recommendations for Ireland in order to improve its ranking. It suggests that the Irish government should revise its national mitigation plan and should take measures in both the transportation and agriculture sectors.

It also urges the country to end its electricity generation using peat and coal by 2019 and 2025 respectively.

The implementation of the Citizens’ Assembly proposals is highly recommended as well to enhance the country’s climate ambition.

The report also recommends that Ireland joins a group of “progressive” EU Member States with the aim of delivering “urgent, near-term emissions reductions”.

Speaking to The Green News, Jennifer Higgins, policy and advocacy advisor at Christian Aid Ireland, says that Ireland must show “more leadership and ambition” both at home and at a European level.

“The recommendations highlighted in this report would be key first steps for Ireland to take in order to improve its ranking,” she continued.

The Green Party have described the report as a “shameful indictment” of the Government’s failure on climate change. Speaking in response to the report, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said: “This report is a shameful indictment of this Government’s climate record.

“We are ranked second-from-bottom not just because of the Government’s inaction here at home, but also because of the negative role they’re playing at EU level – lobbying against more ambitious targets for all of Europe,” he added.

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Asmae Ourkiya

Asmae is a first year PhD candidate from Morocco, majoring in Ecocriticism at Mary Immaculate College, Co Limerick. She has a strong interest in renewable energy as well as environmental justice and ecofeminism. She is passionate about writing and enjoys investigating environmental issues.