Ireland will seek easier targets next month when the European Council is expected to agree a new climate change policy.
Government officials have told their EU counterparts Ireland is unlikely to be able to meet 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets and that this must be recognised before 2030 targets are set by the council in October.
A report by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said Irish officials would seek “a trajectory to 2030” which “factored in the impact of the economic crash on our ability to invest” in anti-climate change measures.
Officials also said analysis showed Ireland had a “disproportionately high” 2020 target compared to other countries.
Different countries were set different targets under the EU Climate and Energy package for 2020, with Ireland expected to bring about a 20pc reduction on 2005 green house gas emissions.
Should Ireland end up missing the target, the exchequer will be liable for hundreds of millions of euro in fines.