Ireland’s performance on climate action has been ranked as the worst in the entire EU28 and among the worst in the world in a major new international survey published today.

“Existing climate mitigation efforts will not enable Ireland to achieve either its EU 2020 or 2030 targets domestically. The long¬standing lack of implementation of substantive measures to put the country on a well ¬below¬ 2°C pathway results in a very low rating for Ireland’s national policy performance”, according to the 2019 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) jointly published by Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute and the Climate Action Network[1].

The report examined a total of 56 countries plus the EU average and ranked them across a number of criteria to assess the extent to which their actions and commitments were in line with commitments under the 2015 Paris Accord to limit global warming to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. The CCPI has tracked countries’ performance for the past 14 years.

“This latest international report is another deeply embarrassing blow to Ireland’s reputation as a good faith actor in terms of doing its fair share in tackling the global climate crisis”, according to John Gibbons, An Taisce’s Climate Change Committee spokesperson. He continued “The NGO sector has long warned the government that failure to squarely address climate change as a political priority would have dire consequences. To be ranked as the very worst in the EU28 is a stunning indictment of political failure to stand up to powerful special interest lobbyists as well as refusing to face down huge complacency and inertia within the public and semi state sectors”.

The CCPI report is more positive regarding more recent policies being proposed by the Irish government. “National experts commend the Irish Parliament for its leadership in deciding to pass the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, which is the first of its kind in the world, and for the innovative Citizens’ Assembly process which produced far-reaching recommendations for climate action now being considered by a special parliamentary committee working on the development of Ireland’s National Energy and Climate Plan. Therefore, the performance on international climate policy is rated medium”, according to the report [2].

In the ‘GHG Emissions’ category, Ireland is rated very low and the country is also among the low¬ ranking performers in the ‘Energy Use’ category. The ‘medium’ ranking on international climate policy was not enough to avoid Ireland receiving a ‘very low’ overall rating.

The best cumulative score in the Index is achieved by Sweden (76.28). Our nearest neighbour, the UK, ranks 8th, with a score of 65.92. The EU average score was 60.65. Ireland, in stark contrast, ranked 48th on the list, with a score of just 40.84, far below the EU average.

“It is worth recalling that the government reneged on even the most rudimentary step of a small increase in the carbon tax in the recent Budget, and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended this decision on Friday night’s Late Late Show”, John Gibbons added. “Assuming the moral and ethical argument for avoiding catastrophic climate change doesn’t convince the Taoiseach, perhaps Mr Varadkar can explain to the public the logic of instead paying over hundreds of millions of euros in fines to the EU from 2020 onwards for our abject failure to meet even our minimum legally binding obligations on emissions”.


For further information, contact:
John Gibbons, An Taisce Climate Change Committee: +353 87 233 2689
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: [email protected]
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland


  1. Climate Change Performance Index
  2. An Taisce notes the Fossil Fuel Investment Bill was not introduced by the Government but rather by Thomas Pringle T.D. but the Government did not block it.

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.