THE GOVERNMENT IS due to buy up almost €3 million worth of carbon credits from Slovakia ahead of an EU deadline for emission target compliance.
Environment Minister, Eamon Ryan, received Cabinet approval today to buy the credits to help comply with 2020 emission targets, with the deadline for compliance being 17 February.
The agreement will see Ireland purchase over 4.1 million credits from Slovakia to help meet the 2020 target, at a cost of €2.9 million.
Additionally, Ireland had over 2.9 million credits on hand from previous transactions that were carried out by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).
The credits are being bought to comply with emission targets within specific sectors of the economy, particularly buildings, transport, agriculture, waste, and some sections of industry.
EU regulations required Ireland to cut emissions within these sectors by 20% compared to 2005 levels.
Under the Effort Sharing Decision, EU member states are required to limit greenhouse gas emissions but there is flexibility on how these targets are met.
In particular, the regulations allow for EU states to sell or buy carbon credits from other countries as well as allowing them to carry forward a 5% emission allocation to the next year.
Between 2013 and 2019, Ireland had met the Effort Sharing Decision targets and need to comply with the targets by Friday 17 February.
The decision to purchase credits from Slovakia comes after both EU member states and politicians reached an agreement to reform the bloc’s carbon market.
The plan aims to accelerate emissions cuts, phase out free allowances to industries and targets fuel emissions from the building and road transport sectors, according to a European Parliament statement.