Ireland faces 'significant challenge' in meeting climate change targets
Expansion in farming sector means it accounts for 33pc of our carbon emissions
Ireland is set to miss two of its three EU 2020 climate targets.
More than a decade ago, Ireland signed up to slash carbon emissions by 20pc from 2005 levels as part an over- arching EU goal.
But according to a European Commission report, Ireland will be 12.4pc off that goal.
In fact, Ireland is one of six EU countries where emissions have actually increased compared to 1990 levels. The others are Cyprus, Spain, Malta, Portugal and Austria.
"High per capita emissions in Ireland reflect the importance of the agricultural sector in the economy, but also the lack of public transport and the underutilisation of Ireland's renewable potential," the Commission report said.
Farming makes up 33pc of carbon emissions in Ireland, the highest in the EU.
A spokesperson for the Department of Climate Action said the shortfall was due to "constrained investment capacity over the decade between 2008 and 2019 due to the economic crisis, including the impact of the troika programme and the EU fiscal governance requirements".
"It now represents a significant challenge to be addressed," the Department said.