Small increase in Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2010 for Ireland's Emissions Trading companies

Date released: Apr 07 2011

Data submitted by the EPA to the EU Commission show that emissions of Greenhouse Gases in 2010 for companies in Ireland covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are marginally higher than in the previous year. Greenhouse Gas emissions from Irish companies participating in the ETS had declined from 22.43 Mtonnes CO2 in 2005 to 17.22 Mtonnes CO2 in 2009.  The data for 2010 shows emissions have risen slightly to 17.36 Mtonnes CO2.

The very large reduction which had occurred between 2008 and 2009, reflecting the severity of the economic downturn, has been largely maintained. However, last year’s small increase in emissions is evidence of a slight increase in production output by participating companies.  This may be an indicator that a turn-around in this sector of the economy has begun.

Dr. Ken Macken, Programme Manager, commented:

“While the emission reduction mainly reflects the impact of the current recession, nonetheless the necessity to undertake all possible efficiency measures is now an essential business strategy. The fact that many efficiency measures also reduce fuel use, with an associated reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, is an important benefit for this country for the future.”


As was the case for 2009, emissions have again shown an over-allocation of greenhouse gas allowances in 2010, under the National Allocation Plan, as compared to the earlier years where there was an under-allocation to participating companies. The major reductions in emissions (and the associated over-allocation) are in the cement sector, reflecting the very significant downturn in construction.

The magnitude of the recession was not anticipated when allowance allocations to companies in the ETS were decided in 2006 and 2007. While the resulting over-allocation of allowances to any companies is not desirable, it should be noted that the current Allocation Plan covers a five year period and the overall outcome will not be clear until the end of 2012.

Over 100 major industrial and institutional sites in Ireland are covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme.  These include power generation, other combustion, cement, lime, glass and ceramic plants and oil refining. Also included are large companies in areas such as food & drink, pharmaceuticals and semi-conductors.

Ireland’s National Allocation Plan for Emissions Trading 2008-2012 can be downloaded from the EPA website.

Further information: Niamh Hatchell, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)

Editor’s Note

Emissions Trading Scheme Verified Emissions 2005-2010: For comparative purposes Ireland's verified ETS emissions since 2005 were as follows (keep in mind that from year to year the scope of the scheme can change somewhat as some installations close and new ones open):
Verified  Greenhouse Gas Emissions  
(Mtonnes  CO2 )

 2005 2006  20072008 2009 2010 
Emissions  22.43  21.7  21.25  20.38  17.22  17.36 


National Allocations Plan: The National Allocation Plan details how carbon allowances in the emissions trading sector will be distributed between participating activities in the five-year period 2008-2012. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is designed to assist Member States achieve their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol in the period 2008-2012.

Emissions Trading: Emissions Trading is a cap and trade scheme where participating installations are given a fixed allocation each year and must either abate CO2 emissions to that level or purchase allowances to meet any exceedance.  It is designed to bring about reductions in emissions at least cost, and is seen to play an increasingly important role in assisting European industry implement the type of reductions envisaged in the EU Commission’s limit of at least  an overall  20% reduction of GHG emissions in the EU by 2020.

Details of Ireland's major excess of Allocations over/under Verified Emissions in tonnes CO2 for years 2008, 2009 and 2010 (source EU website 01/04/2011)