Current Situation

Ireland's latest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 1990-2019 are provisional figures based on the SEAI's final energy balance released in November 2020.  The EPA will publish final figures for 1990-2019 in March/April of 2021.

In 2019, Ireland’s provisional GHG emissions are estimated to be 59.90 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq), which is 4.5% lower (or 2.80 Mt CO2 eq) than emissions in 2018 (62.70 Mt CO2 eq). Emissions reductions have been recorded in 6 of the last 10 years of inventory data (2009-2019). In 2019 national total emissions decreased by 4.5%, emissions in the stationary ETS sector have decreased by 8.7% and emissions under the ESD (Effort Sharing Decision) decreased by 3.1%. This is the first time all 3 category totals have decreased in the same year since 2013.

Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4.5 % (2.80 Mt CO2eq) in 2019 compared to 2018 with decreases observed in all sectors except for Commercial and Public services. These 2 sectors showed small increases in emission (+1.8% and +1.2% respectively), shown highlighted in red in the "Emissions change 2018-2019" table below .

These decreases in emissions is a small step on the road to achievement of Ireland’s long-term decarbonisation goals.

Arresting growth in emissions 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.


Open in Excel: Emissions change 2018_2019 (XLS 11KB)

Assessment of compliance

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 2013-2018 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, 2017 and 2018 and provisional estimates indicate an exceedance of 6.98 Mt CO2 eq for 2019. 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 2019-download (XLS 10KB)

Greenhouse Gas Emissions share by sector 1990

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions share by sector in 2019

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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 2018 data the most recent available on the EEA data viewer.

EU/EEA member states Greenhouse gas emissions per capita by gas 2018

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