Senator Pauline O’Reilly says the Green Party is satisfied with the government’s emissions targets, saying it ‘feels better’ knowing additional measures will be taken alongside the reductions.

The decision to cut agriculture sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25% was met with pushback on both sides.

Party Chair Senator O’Reilly says she would have liked a higher target, but understands the need for realistic goals.

“We would love to see 30%. Of course we would, but I think that you have to bring people with you”, she told On The Record.

“I think that the best deal was done overall.”

In 2020, the agricultural sector accounted for 37% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Now the task is to deliver and to make farmers in particular feel that it is achievable, but let’s not forget about all the other sectors.”

The energy sector aims for a 75% reduction in emissions. Transport will halve its emissions and industry will see a 35-45% cut.

“Given that there are additional measures, I think that it makes us feel better about it.”

“There’s an awful lot of work to be done and what we wanted to do was get this thing over the line”, said O’Reilly.

“What we did, which was the correct course of action, was to reserve judgement until we saw what came as well as the 25%. And given that there are additional measures, I think that it makes us feel better about it.”

“This is ultimately about getting action done.”


The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) has warned that the reductions will only result in a 43% decrease in emissions by the end of the decade, while the government is legally required to reduce emissions by 51%.

The CCAC is also concerned that the targets do not include any detail about how they are to be achieved – and is criticising the failure to include Land Use among the sectors responsible for emissions.

CCAC Chair Marie Donnelly said there “remains considerable uncertainty around how the carbon budgets will be delivered.”

“Whilst these targets are a useful starting point the targets will need to be revised upwards and monitored closely in the light of experience”, she said.

Listen back to the full conversation here.

Main image shows Pauline O’Reilly. Image: Sasko Lazarov/