EPA welcomes decrease in Ireland’s Greenhouse Gases in 2007

Date released: Oct 15 2008

  • Greenhouse Gas emissions 463,000 tonnes (0.66 per cent) lower in 2007 than in 2006;
  • Emissions from agriculture continue downward trend and show substantial reduction of 740,000 tonnes (3.8 per cent lower than in 2006). This is mainly attributable to lower sheep and cattle numbers coupled with reduced fertilizer use;
  • Significant decrease of almost 580,000 tonnes (3.7 per cent) from energy generation.  Displacement of oil by natural gas is considered to be largely responsible;
  • Main increase is from transport emissions, which were up by 4.7 per cent (an increase of almost 650,000 tonnes);
  • Ireland’s total emissions in 2007 of 69.28 million tonnes now almost 6.5 million tonnes (10.2%) above our Kyoto Limit of 62.84 million tonnes.

Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas emissions fell by 0.66 per cent in 2007, as compared to 2006.  Provisional figures released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) include trends since 1990 and show Ireland’s status in meeting our obligations set under the Kyoto Protocol. The figures show that, while Ireland’s Kyoto limit in the period 2008-2012 is 62.84 million tonnes per annum, Ireland’s emissions in 2007 of 69.28 million tonnes were 10.2 per cent (nearly 6.5 million tonnes) above this limit. 

Commenting on the figures Dr Mary Kelly, Director General, EPA said,

“While the figures are encouraging, and the reduction of 0.66% is most welcome, the remaining distance to our Kyoto limit is substantial and shows that we continue to face a very major challenge.”

“The Kyoto limit will be met by a combination of domestic actions with some purchase of carbon credits as allowed for under the Kyoto Protocol and provided for in Ireland’s National Climate Change Strategy. Today’s figures show that the Government’s target of 3% annual reductions in emissions remains extremely challenging and further emphasises that actions to reduce domestic emissions must be intensified and strengthened.”

The rise of transport emissions continues a long evident trend with an increase of 4.7 per cent on 2006, similar to the increases seen from this sector over recent years.  2007 reflected a 178 per cent increase on 1990 figures. Transport emissions made up almost 21 per cent of the 2007 total, most of which were generated by road transport (97%). The increase reflects increasing vehicle numbers, a trend towards purchasing larger vehicles, an increased reliance on private cars and increasing road freight transport. Major efforts will be required to halt and reverse this trend.

 Agriculture emissions continued to decrease in 2007 (by 3.8 per cent), reflecting lower livestock numbers and decreased fertilizer use.  However agriculture remains the single largest contributor to overall emissions at almost 27 per cent. The potential impact of EU and world trade changes on agricultural output needs to be closely monitored.

There was a decrease of 3.7 per cent for energy industries, which follows a similar decrease in the previous year. Displacement of oil by natural gas largely accounts for the decrease in emissions in energy industries in 2007, however emissions from this sector are 26.7 per cent higher than in 1990.

Download the 2007 provisional figures for greenhouse gases.

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