Confirmation that the EU will exceed its 2020 reduction targets, where Greenhouse Gas emissions are concerned, will not reduce Ireland’s exposure to dramatic climate change fines from Brussels, according to An Taisce’s Ian Lumley.

Nationally, we will not meet our climate change targets where agriculture, transport and heating are concerned.

“But we should not be totally focussed on the issue of fines. Currently, Ireland is the fastest growing economy in the EU. However, we have not invested accordingly climate change mitigating technologies. And this is a damning indictment of current government policies,” he said

Meanwhile, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has confirmed that the EU is on track towards meeting and overachieving its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse emissions by 20%.

A report produced by the EPA reveals that greenhouse gas emissions across Europe decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2014 and reached the lowest levels on record.

Latest projections by Member States show that the EU is heading for a 24% reduction by 2020 with current climate change measures in place, and a 25% reduction with additional measures already being planned in a number of countries.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said that these results results speak for themselves.

“Europe succeeded in cutting emissions by 23% between 1990 and 2014 while the European economy grew by 46% over the same period. We have shown consistently that climate protection and economic growth go hand in hand.

“This is a strong signal ahead of the Paris climate conference that Europe stands by its commitments and that our climate and energy policies work. And we have already taken the first steps towards implementing our Paris pledge with new proposals presented earlier this year.”

The EEA report confirms that according to th latest estimates, greenhouse gas, emissions fell by 4% in 2014 compared to 2013. This was partly due to an unusually warm year, which lowered energy demand. This means the EU’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions were 23% below 1990 levels last year.