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 37.1% of national Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions in 2020, mainly methane from livestock, and nitrous oxide due to the use of nitrogen fertiliser and manure management.
In 2020, emissions from energy industries have decreased by 7.9% on 2019, mainly because of reduced use of peat and increased renewables, such as wind, for generating electricity. Overall, GHG emissions from energy industries accounted for 15.0% of Ireland’s national total emissions in 2020. Over the period 1990-2020, emissions from electricity generation have decreased by 21.2%, whereas total electricity consumption has increased by 139.5%. This decrease reflects the improvement in efficiency of modern gas fired power plants replacing older peat and oil-fired plants and the increased share of renewables, primarily, wind power along with increased interconnectivity.
Between 1990 and 2020, emissions from transport showed the greatest overall increase, at 100.1%, with road transport increasing 102.6%. Transport emissions have decreased by 29.9% below peak levels in 2007, primarily because of the economic downturn, improving vehicle fuel efficiency as a result of changes to the vehicle registration tax, the increase in use of biofuels and significant decreases in fuel tourism in recent years. However, more recently, increases in transport emissions have been recorded for 5 out of the last 8 years (2013-2020) as the economy has grown and transport movements have increased. 2020 was an exceptional year with a decrease of 15.7% in emissions, due to the impact of COVID restrictions on passenger car and public transport journeys.