What are Irelands greenhouse gas emissions ?

Greenhouse gas emissions arise from many different activities.  The EPA has responsibility for the compilation of GHG emission figures for Ireland. Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions have decreased in 2017, following a substantial increase in 2016. Current figures show that total national greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be 60.74 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq) in 2017. This is 0.9% (0.53 Mt CO2eq) lower than emissions in 2016. Emissions reductions have been recorded in 7 of the last 10 years, however, two of the last three years have seen large increases in emissions. In the last 3 years national total emissions increased by 6.4% or 3.65 Mt CO2eq.

Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 0.9 % (0.53 Mt CO2eq) in 2017 with decreases observed in some the main economic sectors including:

  • Energy emissions decreased by 6.9%
  • Transport emissions have decreased by 2.4%

Emissions trends are heading in the wrong direction in the following sectors; Agriculture with an increase of 2.9%, Manufacturing Combustion up 3.1%, Industrial processes increased by 4.1% and Commercial and Public services both increased by 6.7% in 2017, 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


Sectoral share of GHG emissions

‌Figure 1: Ireland's Greenhouse gas emissions by sector for 2017 (Source: EPA 2019)


In global terms, Ireland is a small country with a relatively small population. However, Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions per person are amongst the highest of any country in the world. The argument that we are too small a country to make a difference holds no ground -  climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution involving all countries.

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