Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2023 lowest in three decades

Date released: July 08, 2024

  • Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 6.8 per cent (4.0 Mt CO2eq) in 2023 with reductions in almost all sectors. This is the lowest that greenhouse gas emissions have been in three decades, and below the 1990 baseline.
  • Emissions data show the largest single year reductions in the energy and agriculture sectors and the lowest level of residential emissions since 1990, while transport emissions were below pre-Covid levels.
    • Power generation emissions decreased by 21.6 per cent (2.2 Mt CO2eq)
    • Agriculture emissions decreased by 4.6 per cent (1.0 Mt CO2eq)Residential emissions decreased by 7.1 per cent (0.4 Mt CO2eq)
    • Transport emissions increased marginally by 0.3 per cent (0.03 Mt CO2eq)
    • Emissions per capita decreased from 11.4 tonnes CO2eq/person to 10.4 tonnes CO2eq/person in 2023.

The EPA has today published its provisional greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland for 2023. The figures show a reduction of 6.8 per cent compared to 2022, with emission reductions in almost all sectors. In total, 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq) were emitted, excluding emissions from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).

Commenting on the report Laura Burke, Director General, EPA said:

“Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2023 were at their lowest level in over three decades, as a result of the largest reduction in emissions outside of recession. These are significant findings that signal the impact of climate action and decarbonisation measures across Ireland’s economy and society. We see the impact of more renewables and interconnection powering electricity, less fossil fuel use in home heating, reduced nitrogen fertiliser use in agriculture and more biofuel in transport.

She added,

“The data indicates a move towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the scale and pace required to meet our climate ambition of a 51 per cent reduction by 2030. However, while these are positive results for the year 2023, we are still well off track in terms of meeting EU and national 2030 targets. We need to maintain and further build momentum.”

The assessment shows that Ireland complied with its EU Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) commitments for 2021-2023, with the use of allowed flexibilities. However, these latest data show that 2023 greenhouse gas emissions were still only 10.1 per cent below 2005 levels, well short of Ireland’s EU Effort Sharing reduction commitment of 42 per cent by 2030.

With regard to compliance with national commitments under the Climate Act 2015 (as amended), the assessment shows that greenhouse Gas emissions (incl. LULUCF) are 7.8% lower than in 2018, well off the National Climate Ambition of a 51% reduction by 2030.  We need to achieve an extremely challenging annual reduction of 8.3 per cent for each of the years 2024 and 2025 if Ireland is to stay within the first Carbon Budget.

A summary of the trends from key sectors:

Energy Industries: Emissions decreased by 21.6 per cent to 7.8 Mt CO2eq. This was driven by a 12-fold increase in imported electricity (9.5 per cent of electricity supply in 2023), in combination with an increase in the share of renewable energy (to 40.7 per cent in 2023) and a reduction in the use of coal, oil and peat. The emissions intensity of power generation decreased from 332g CO2/kWh in 2022 to a historic low of 255g CO2/kWh in 2023.

Agriculture: Agriculture emissions decreased by 4.6 per cent to 20.8 Mt CO2eq due to an 18 per cent reduction in fertiliser nitrogen use, reduced lime application and overall reduction in numbers of livestock. Dairy cow numbers increased by 0.6 per cent, however total milk production decreased by 4.7 per cent in 2023.

Residential: Emissions decreased by 7 per cent to 5.3 Mt CO2eq. This was the second substantial annual reduction in succession. High fuel prices and a milder winter were significant contributors to the reduction in fossil fuel use, in addition to the introduction of nationwide solid fuel regulations. Over 30,000 heat-pumps were installed in Irish homes in 2023 bringing the total to 120,000.

Transport: emissions increased marginally by 0.3 per cent to 11.8 Mt CO2eq. Emissions are now 4.3 per cent below 2019 pre-Covid levels. An increase in electric vehicles and biofuel use partly offset a 3 per cent increase in the vehicle fleet.

Commenting, Mary Frances Rochford, Programme Manager, EPA said:

“There are many positives to be taken from this assessment. We see emission reduction milestones achieved in many key sectors in 2023. Residential emissions were at their lowest level since 1990, we saw the largest year on year reductions to date in the Energy and Agriculture sectors. All of which have contributed to a decrease in our emissions per capita from 11.4 to 10.4 tonnes CO2eq in 2023.”

In line with new research in the latest update to the inventory, the EPA refined the information underpinning the agricultural figures which has led to an 8.5 Mt CO2eq reduction in emissions from agricultural activities from 2018-2023. It is imperative that this is now incorporated into carbon budgets to ensure that they reflect latest science, data and knowledge on greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland. 
The Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory 1990 to 2023 is available on the EPA website and the EPA Greenhouse Gas web resource is also available online.


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

Notes to Editor

Provisional national total emissions (including LULUCF) were 60.62 Mt CO2 eq in 2023, 7.8 per cent below 2018 reference year for Ireland’s national climate objective.

This publication provides early insight into the annual greenhouse gas emissions in advance of final data being submitted to the EU and UN in 2025. The report will facilitate the monitoring and reporting processes associated with the National Climate Objective and associated Carbon budgets, annual review of the Climate Action Plan and greater level of sectoral reporting.

2023 is the third year over which compliance with targets set in the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) will be assessed. This Regulation sets 2030 targets for emissions outside of the Emissions Trading Scheme (known as ESR emissions) and annual binding national limits for the period 2021-2030. Ireland’s target is to reduce ESR emissions by 42 per cent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, with a number of flexibilities available to assist in achieving this.

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 are available in the published report.

Table 1. Provisional greenhouse gas emissions for 2022 and 2023 for Ireland*

Million tonnes

CO2 eq



% change


Agriculture 21.795 20.782 -4.6%
Transport 11.760 11.791 0.3%
Energy Industries 10.003 7.845 -21.6%
Residential 5.753 5.346 -7.1%



4.334 4.133 -4.6%



2.288 2.155 -5.8%
F-Gases 0.741 0.699 -5.7%



0.751 0.732 -2.5%
Public Services 0.696 0.677 -2.7%
Waste 0.881 0.846 -4.0%
LULUFC 3.983 5.614 40.0%

National Total

excluding LULUFC

59.003 55.007 -6.8%

National Total

including LULUFC

62.986 60.620 -3.8%
* Final figures will be submitted to the EU and UN in March and April 2025 in line with the agreed reporting timetable.
Table 2. Compliance with EU Effort Sharing Regulation Targets 2021-2025
  2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
Total greenhouse gas emissions without LULUCF 60,191 59,003 55,007    
- Total verified emissions from stationary installations under Directive 2003/87/EC 15,320 14,686 12,189    
-CO2 emissions from domestic aviation 20 21 31    
Total ESR emissions 44,852 44,295 42,787    
EU ESR targets* 43,479 42,357 40,520 38,683 36,845
Gross distance to target -1,372 -1,938 -2,267    
+ annualised ETS flexibility* 1,908 1,908 1,908 1,908 1,908
Net distance to target 536 -30 -359    
* Set out in Annex II and Annex III of Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/2126  with additional potential flexibilities arising from LULUCF 


The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 , amending the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 , provides the framework for Ireland to meet its international and EU climate commitments and sets a legally binding target of a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030 on 2018 levels.

Typically, National total emissions are presented excluding LULUCF (as they are in this report unless otherwise noted) due to the difficulty in comparing one country’s climate actions with another when it is included.  For the purpose of assessment against the National Climate Act target however, it is necessary to include this sector and where this is the case the inclusion is noted in the report.

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 eleven sectors for analysis;

  1. Energy Industries (electricity generation, waste to energy incineration, oil refining, briquetting manufacture and fugitive emissions)
  2. Residential (combustion for domestic space and hot water heating)
  3. Manufacturing Combustion (combustion for Manufacturing industries in ETS and non-ETS)
  4. Commercial Services (combustion for Commercial Services space and hot water heating)
  5. Public Services (combustion for Public services space and hot water heating)
  6. Transport (combustion of fuel used in road, rail, navigation, domestic aviation and pipeline gas transport)
  7. Industrial Processes (process emissions from mineral, chemical, metal industries, non-energy products and solvents)
  8. F-Gases (gases used in refrigeration, air conditioning and semiconductor manufacture)
  9. Agriculture (emissions from fertiliser application, ruminant digestion, manure management, agricultural soils and fuel used in agriculture/forestry/fishing)
  10. Waste (emissions from solid waste disposal on land, solid waste treatment (composting and anaerobic digestion), wastewater treatment, waste incineration and open burning of waste).
  11. Land-Use, Land-use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) covers the following categories; Forest Land, Cropland, Grassland, Wetlands, Settlements, Other Land and Harvested Wood Products