Date released: Nov 27 2017, 11:54 AM
Action needed as greenhouse gas emissions increase
The Environmental Protection Agency figures released today show that Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased significantly in 2016, following a substantial increase in 2015. Today’s figures show that total national greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be 61.19 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) in 2016. This is 3.5 per cent (2.06 Mt CO2 eq) higher than emissions in 2015 and returns greenhouse gas emissions to 2009 levels. National emissions have now increased by over seven per cent in just two years, indicating that we have not managed to decouple emissions from economic growth.
Dr. Eimear Cotter, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, said:
“Achieving Ireland’s long-term decarbonisation objective can only take place with a transformation of our energy, agriculture and transport systems. We need to adopt a much greater sense of urgency about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while radically improving energy efficiency. In relation to agriculture, Ireland must optimise
agricultural production to ensure long term environmental integrity and sustainability. The growth in this sector, particularly for dairy and other cattle, points to very significant risks in relation to meeting our decarbonisation objectives.”
Concluding, Stephen Treacy, Senior Manager in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability said:
“These figures confirm that greenhouse gas emissions keep step with economic growth unless appropriate interventions are designed and implemented. The National Mitigation Plan outlines what is needed to move Ireland to a low carbon economy. What we need now is to back this up with investment and action particularly across the highest emitting sectors, agriculture, transport and energy.”
See full detail on these provisional figures in the EPA web published report Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2016.
Notes to Editor
Improvements to inventory: The provisional estimates of emissions for 1990-2016 include significant changes to the agriculture sector. The estimates incorporate research targeted at inventory sources that account for 88 per cent of the total uncertainty in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emission figures. This research investigated the nitrous oxide emission factors for nitrogen fertiliser use and nitrous oxide emission factors for dung and urine deposited by grazing cattle on soils. As a direct result of this research agriculture emissions are now 3.6 per cent or 0.71 Mt CO2 eq per annum lower for all years from 1990-2015. The research was conducted as part of the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Initiative for Ireland (AGRI-I) funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Research Stimulus Fund. Launched in January 2012, AGRI-I (www.agri-i.ie) is a consortium of researchers, students and professionals working collaboratively to develop verified strategies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from Irish agriculture. Research is conducted by Teagasc, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Northern Ireland, Queens University Belfast and Reading University.
Units: 1 Mt = 1,000 kilotonnes
CO2 Equivalent: greenhouse gases other than CO2 (i.e. methane, nitrous oxide and so-called F-gases) may be converted to CO2 equivalent using their global warming potentials.
F-gases: These gases comprise HFCs (Hydroflurocarbons), PFCs (Perfluorcarbons), SF6 (Sulphur Hexafluoride) and NF3 (Nitrogen Trifluoride). They are much more potent than the naturally occurring greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide).
Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Sectors: include the following ten sectors for analysis;
An overview of changes in emissions since the previous year is presented in Table 1 and distance to EU targets in Table 2.
More trend figures, tables and background information is available on the EPA website.
Table 1. Draft* greenhouse gas emissions for 2015 and 2016 for Ireland
|Mt CO2 eq||2015||2016||% change|
* Final figures will be submitted to the EU and UN in March and April 2017 in line with the agreed reporting timetable.
Table 2. Compliance with EU Effort Sharing Decision Targets 2014-2020
Total greenhouse gas
emissions without LULUCF
|B||NF3 emissions||0.9||1.0||1.0||1.0||kt CO2eq|
Total greenhouse gas emissions
without LULUCF and without
Total verified emissions from
stationary installations under
CO2 emissions from 1.A.3.a
|F||Total ESD emissions (=C-D-E)||42,206.8||41,663.0||43,037.2||43,443.6||kt CO2eq|
|G||EU ESD Targets||46,891.9||45,760.9||44,629.9||43,498.9||40,885.1||39,807.1||38,729.2||37,651.3||kt CO2eq|
|Distance to target (=F-G)||-4,685.1||-4,097.9||-1,592.7||-55.3|
Note: Data for 2013, 2014 and 2015 has been reviewed, and compliance agreed, by the European Commission under Article 19 of the MMR No. 525/2013