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 37.5% of national Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions in 2021, 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 increase of 17.6% in 2021 which is attributable to a tripling of both coal and fuel oil use in electricity generation. There was also a reduction in natural gas use by 8.9% as plants were offline in 2021.   

In 2021 renewables accounted for 34.7%, (down from a high of 42.3% in 2020) and natural gas 49.8% of electricity generated in 2021. In 2021, Ireland also imported almost 1,600 GWh of electricity which would have resulted in additional emissions of over 500 kt of CO2, if generated in Ireland. 

Emissions from electricity generation had decreased year-on-year from 2016 to 2020, but 2021 has seen an increase of 18.8% compared to 2020. The return to using more carbon intensive fuel along with less renewables and natural gas plant availability has played a big part in reversing the trend. 

Transport

Between 1990 and 2021, Transport shows the greatest overall increase of GHG emissions at 112.2%, from 5,143.5 kt CO2eq in 1990 to 10,915.6 kt CO2eq in 2021, with road transport increasing by 115.2%. Fuel combustion emissions from Transport accounted for 9.3 per cent and 17.7 per cent of total national greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 and 2021, 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 178% and commercial vehicles increased by 167%. 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.