Agriculture

Climate change is challenging for Irish agriculture both in the context of greenhouse gas emissions and the need for adaptation of farming practices to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change. In Ireland the Agriculture sector was directly responsible for 38.5% of national Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions in 2022, mainly methane from livestock, and nitrous oxide due to the use of nitrogen fertiliser and manure management.

Energy

Sectoral emissions in the Energy Industries sector show an decrease of 1.8% in 2022 which is attributable to reductions in coal, fuel oil and peat use (-16.1%, -29.1%, and -24.8%) in electricity generation. There was a substantial increase in natural gas use by 12.6% following an 8.9% decrease the previous year as plants were offline in 2021.

In 2022 renewables accounted for 38.6%, (an increase from 35.0% in 2021). The use of natural gas increased by 12.6% and is currently the highest usage since 2010, at 48.8% of electricity generated in 2022. 

Emissions from electricity generation had decreased year-on-year from 2016 to 2020, but 2021 and 2022 has seen an increase in emissions of 1.57 and 1.38 million tonnes compared to 2020 respectively. The return to using more carbon intensive fuel along with less renewables and natural gas plant availability has played a big part in changing the trend as well as an increasing demand for electricity.

Transport

Between 1990 and 2022, Transport shows the greatest overall increase of GHG emissions at 128.5%, from 5,143.3 kt CO2 eq in 1990 to 11,751.3 kt CO2 eq in 2022, with road transport increasing by 132.6%. Fuel combustion emissions from Transport accounted for 9.3% and 19.4% of total national greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 and 2022, respectively. The increase in emissions up to 2007 can be attributed to general economic prosperity and increasing population, with a high reliance on private car travel as well as rapidly increasing road freight transport. Over the time series passenger car numbers increased by 184% and commercial vehicles increased by 170%. Both the increase in transport emissions up to 2007 and the subsequent fall during the financial crisis highlight that transport emissions have not yet been effectively decoupled from economic activity through sustainable planning or electrification.