Increase in Ireland’s Greenhouse Gases - Transport and Energy up - Agriculture down

Date released: Feb 16 2007

  • Tonnage of Greenhouse Gas emissions 1.9 per cent higher than in 2004;
  • Main increase from transport emissions which increased by 6.9 per cent (an increase of almost 870,000 tonnes);
  • Substantial increase from energy generation of 2.4 per cent (increase of 380,000 tonnes) attributable mainly to increased use of peat in power stations;
  • Emissions from agriculture continued downward trend and are 1.8 per cent lower than in 2004.

Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas emissions rose by 1.9 per cent in 2005, as compared to 2004.  Figures released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that, while Ireland’s Kyoto target in the period 2008-2012 is to limit emissions to 13 per cent above the base line estimate, Ireland’s emissions in 2005 were 25.4 per cent above the base line estimate. 

The EPA compiles Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas emission estimates annually.  The 2005 figures will remain provisional until March 2007 when they will be submitted to the European Commission.  Commenting on the figures Dr Mary Kelly, Director-General, EPA said,

“The figures are disappointing, reflecting the difficulty of reducing emissions in a growing economy.  Transport figures are particularly worrying.  In 2005, they increased by 6.9 per cent on 2004, similar to the increase in 2004 from 2003 levels.  Major efforts will be required to halt and reverse this trend.”


The rise of transport emissions was by far the largest in any sector in 2005 and reflected a 160 per cent increase on 1990 figures. Transport emissions made up 19 per cent of the 2005 total, most of which were generated by road transport (96%). The increase reflects increasing vehicle numbers, a trend towards purchasing larger vehicles, an increased reliance on private cars and increasing road freight transport.

Energy emissions contributed 23 per cent of Ireland’s total emissions in 2005 having risen by 38 per cent between 1990-2005. 
Dr Kelly said,

“Emissions from power generation, having reduced in earlier years have shown a 2.4 per cent increase in 2005 over 2004 reflecting the greater use of peat in the fuel mix.”


Agriculture remains the single largest contributor to overall emissions at almost 28 per cent.  Dr Kelly commented,

“On the positive side, while the contribution from agriculture in Ireland is high by international comparison, agriculture emissions decreased by 1.8 per cent in 2005, reflecting lower livestock numbers and decreased fertilizer use.”



The data released today include trends since 1990 and show Ireland’s status in meeting targets set under the Kyoto Protocol. Commenting on whether Ireland can reach its Kyoto target by 2012, Dr Kelly said,


“The Kyoto target will be met by a combination of domestic actions and purchase of carbon credits as allowed for under the Kyoto Protocol and provided for in Ireland’s draft Review of the National Climate Change Strategy.  Today’s figures show that using the Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms will be important in the 2008-2012 period, but actions to reduce domestic emissions must be intensified and strengthened.  Greenhouse gases emitted now will remain in the atmosphere for many decades and affect the climate for centuries to come.”


Dr Kelly concluded,

“In the post-Kyoto period emissions reductions in the order of 15 to 30 per cent on 1990 emissions are being proposed to avoid irreversible and damaging climate change.  Europe is aiming to limit the inevitable global temperature increase to just two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.  Ireland needs to play its role in meeting this objective.  Policy makers must use the detailed breakdown of figures in each sector, provided today, to focus on all areas where reductions are possible and need to be achieved.”


The Provisional Estimate for 2005 is available at