Current Situation

Ireland’s provisional greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be 60.51 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq) in 2018, which is 0.2% lower (or 0.14 Mt CO2 eq) than emissions in 2017 (60.65 Mt CO2 eq) and follows a 1.0% decrease in emissions reported for 2017. Emissions reductions have been recorded in 7 of the last 10 years. In the last 2 years national total emissions have only decreased by 1.2% or 0.74 Mt CO2eq, following very large increases of over 3.5% in both 2015 and 2016. In the same period, emissions in the stationary ETS sector have decreased by 12.5% or 2.22 Mt CO2 eq whereas emissions under the ESD (Effort Sharing Decision) increased by 3.4% or 1.48 Mt CO2 eq.

Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 0.2 % (0.14 Mt CO2eq) in 2018 compared to 2017 with decreases observed in only 3 sectors including:

  • Energy Industries emissions decreased by 11.7%
  • Waste emissions have decreased by 2.8%
  • F-Gases emissions have decreased by 10.2%

Emissions trends are heading in the wrong direction in the following sectors; Agriculture with an increase of 1.9%, Transport up 1.7%, Residential up 7.9%, Manufacturing Combustion up 3.9%, Industrial processes up by 2.0% and Commercial and Public services both increased by 5.3% and 8.2% respectively in 2018 compared to 2017 emissions, making achievement of Ireland’s long-term decarbonisation goals ever more difficult.

Arresting this growth is a challenge in the context of a growing economy but one which must be addressed by households, business, farmers and communities if Ireland is to reap the benefits of a low-carbon economy.

The table below shows the assessment of compliance under the European Union's Effort Sharing Decision which sets 2020 targets for sectors outside of the Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)and annual binding limits for the period 2013-2020. The years 2013-2017 have been reviewed and compliance agreed by the European Commission under Article 19 of the MMR No. 525/2013. Ireland has exceeded its Effort Sharing Decision annual limit for 2016 and 2017 and provisional estimates indicate an exceedance of 5.17 Mt CO2 eq. In contrast to sectors in the EU ETS which are regulated at EU level, Ireland is responsible for national policies and measures to limit emissions from the sectors covered by Effort Sharing legislation. Further information can be found on the European Commission website on Effort Sharing and emission targets.

Open in Excel: Compliance ESD targets (XLS 10KB)

Greenhouse Gas Emissions share by sector 1990

Back to top

Greenhouse Gas Emissions share by sector in 2018

Back to top

EU/EEA member states GHG emissions per capita

As can be seen in the graph below Ireland has higher than average emissions of CH4 and N2O  because we have the highest agriculture emission contribution from any of the EU Member States. A similar pattern can be seen in New Zealand where agriculture is also an important part of their economy. These figures reflect the relative importance of agriculture to Ireland’s economy, and the lack of heavy industry in comparison to some other member states. Agricultural emissions are dominated by methane (CH4)  from enteric fermentation and manure management and Nitrous oxide (N2O) from fertiliser, manure applied to land and animal excreta deposited directly onto pasture. The graph below is based on 2017 data as final 2018 data for EU/EEA member states is not yet available.

EU/EEA member states Greenhouse gas emissions per capita by gas 2017

Back to top