It will be at least 2022 before the Government begins its work on a review of greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis.

Calculating emissions on a consumption basis would take into account the amount of emissions associated with trade.

In Ireland’s case, the current system means that the emissions from both imported oil and exported food are counted in the national emissions. A consumption-based system would see only the food consumed here in Ireland included in the emissions tally.

We will conduct a review of greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis

The Programme for Government last year included a pledge to review the system.

It read: “We are conscious of the limitations of examining greenhouse gas emissions solely on a production basis.

“We will conduct a review of greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis, with a goal of ensuring that Irish and EU action to reduce emissions supports emission reductions globally, as well as on our own territories.”

A long way away

However, on Monday Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan told the Irish Farmers Journal that it the review is some way off beginning.

“On the consumption side, a lot of that will depend on European initiatives where we’re looking for cross border measurement of full carbon effect of the goods we consume and in that way, we can start putting proper […] or we can trace where the actual emissions are occurring, but that’s a European key element we have to progress as well.

“It’s part of the Fit for 55 and the climate law process that’s going on in Europe, so that will be later this summer before and indeed it does connect to the wider trade and tax issues, because it’s looking at cross border transactions and putting a price on that.

“But that’s a wider European debate that’s probably not going to be resolved this year,” he said.