Irish climate body says targets to halve greenhouse emissions not enough

An Extinction Rebellion protestor holds a placard outside Government Buildings on Budget day in Dublin, Ireland October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan

DUBLIN, July 29 (Reuters) - Ireland's independent climate advisory body said sectoral targets set by government this week to limit carbon emissions fall short of the 51% cut to greenhouse gas emissions ministers are legally obliged to implement by 2030.

The coalition government on Thursday agreed targets to limit emissions in key sectors, including compromising on a 25% cut for the agricultural sector following weeks of disagreement between members of the centre-right Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parties and their smaller Green Party colleagues. read more

The government passed legislation last year to put Ireland on a legally binding path to net-zero emissions no later than 2050, including the ambitious 51% reduction versus 2018 levels by the end of the decade.

"The sectoral targets announced are problematic for a number of reasons," Climate Change Advisory Council chair Marie Donnelly said in a statement.

"Firstly, and most importantly, the quantified emissions reductions only amount to a reduction of 43% excluding the Land Use Sector and are therefore not consistent with the objective in the Climate Action Act."

Donnelly added that while sectoral reductions are set down in percentage terms - including a 75% cut for the electricity sector and 50% for transport - the plans do not illustrate how these are consistent with legally-binding carbon budgets.

"As such there remains considerable uncertainty around how the carbon budgets will be delivered... The targets will need to be revised upwards and monitored closely in the light of experience."

Environment Minister and Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan said the government will meet the 51% target and that it had always expected to also rely on reductions from areas where targets have yet to be set.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Barbara Lewis

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