The EPA's Role in addressing climate change

The EPA’s role in addressing climate change challenges includes collating national greenhouse gas emissions and projections; regulating emissions from industrial sectors; supporting climate science research; supporting behavioural change and facilitating the National Dialogue on Climate Action. Note: These pages were updated with the provisional 1990-2021 inventory data in July 2022 and latest 2021-2030 projections estimates in June 2022.

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What can you do?

Reduce your transport carbon footprint, improve the energy efficiency of your home and avoid food waste - a climate action you can do every day.

 Remember:

“EVERY BIT OF WARMING MATTERS. EVERY YEAR MATTERS.

EVERY CHOICE MATTERS”

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Greenhouse gas emissions Ireland

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Key messages

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Ireland increased in 2021

Change in emissions since 2020

+4.7%

Emissions increases were driven by the partial lifting of COVID restrictions on transport highlighting that Ireland is still not on the pathway required to meet future targets and a climate neutral economy.

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Latest emissions estimates

Ireland’s latest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 1990-2021 are provisional figures based on the SEAI’s energy balance released in June 2022.

Latest emissions data

61.53 Mt CO2eq

Ireland’s GHG emissions are estimated to be 61.53 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq)

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Energy industries

Greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2021 due to an increase in coal use and a decrease in renewable energy for electricity generation

Emissions mainly from electricity generation

+17.6%

Coal in electricity generation +245.5% in 2021

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Residential

Residential/household sector was responsible for 11.4% of Ireland's GHG emissions in 2021

Residential emissions

-4.9%

Compared to 2020, less homeworking due to the partial lifting of COVID restrictions, warmer winter & increased fuel switching from coal & peat to oil and natural gas

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Transport emissions

Emissions increased by 6.1% in 2021 due to partial lifting of COVID restrictions

Transport

+6.1%

Electric vehicles have nearly doubled in 2021 but still account for less than 2% of the fleet

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Agriculture

Increased emissions in 2021, driven by increased nitrogen fertiliser use (+5.2% in 2021) and increased numbers of dairy cows (+2.8%)

Agriculture emissions

+3.0%

Overall increase in agriculture emissions

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Waste

Emissions from the Waste sector decreased by 4.5% in 2021, with a decrease in sub category; landfills of 5.4%.

Waste sector emissions

-4.5%

Overall decreasing emissions trend

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Commercial and Public services

The Commercial/Public services sector estimates emissions from fuel combustion for space and hot water heating in commercial and public buildings in Ireland.

Commercial/Public share

3.4%

COVID restrictions had little impact on commercial or public services sectors

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Manufacturing combustion

Emissions from combustion of fuels in manufacturing industry. It also includes combustion for combined heat and power for own use in these industries.

Manufacturing combustion

+0.9%

This sector was responsible for 7.5% of Ireland's total GHG emissions in 2021

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Industrial processes

In 2021 the industrial processes sector was responsible for 4.0% and F-gases 1.2% of Ireland's total GHG emissions

Industrial processes

+16.8%

Cement sector process emissions increased by 16.8% in 2021

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LULUCF

Forest land, Cropland, Grassland, Wetlands, Settlements, Other land and Harvested Wood products are included in LULUCF

Latest inventory data for 2021 shows that land use, land use change and forestry activity emit

7.8 Mt CO2eq

This sector is a net source of carbon in all years.

Assessment of compliance

The provisional estimates of greenhouse gas emissions indicate that Ireland exceeds its 2021 annual limit, without the use of flexibilities, set under the EU’s Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) by 2.74 Mt CO2eq.

Compliance with national target requires a reduction of

51%

by 2030 compared to 2018.

FAQs on greenhouse gas (GHG)

in: Climate Change

Ireland's GHG emissions inventory

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol provide the basis for international action to address climate change. The objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system. The ability of the international community to achieve this objective is dependent on an accurate knowledge of emissions trends, and on our collective ability to alter these trends. Reliable GHG inventories are essential, both at national and international level. Parties to the convention and its Kyoto Protocol are committed to developing and publishing the national emission inventories of GHGs which is a key element of assessing progress towards meeting commitments and targets.

The EPA has overall responsibility for the national greenhouse gas inventory in Ireland's national system and compiles Ireland's national greenhouse gas emission inventory on an annual basis. 

Emissions data for the following gases is reported on an annual basis: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perflurocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). 

Ireland's GHG emissions projections

The National Climate Change Strategy (2007) designated the EPA with responsibility for developing national emission projections for greenhouse gases for all key sectors of the economy. Emission projections serve to inform national policy initiatives and allow Ireland to comply with EU and UN reporting obligations on emissions projections. The EPA produces national greenhouse gas emission projections on an annual basis.

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Popular FAQs

  • How can I cite these maps?

    If you publish a news article, visualization, blog post, or other publication using these maps, please include the link to the Irish Environmental Protection Agency maps page and attribution to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the Irish EPA.

  • Do these maps reflect changes in opinions due to recent extreme weather events like Storm Ophelia/Storm Barra?

    Perhaps. The maps may reflect the impacts that specific extreme weather events had on public opinion in a given geographic unit. If public opinion in a particular area has been influenced by local events it is possible that the model would detect such an influence. However, data from specific events or types of events are not explicitly built into the model as predictor variables.

  • Do the maps account for differences in population density across the country?

    The type of map used in this tool is called a choropleth map, which means the colours on the maps reflect the percentage of the population in a given geographic unit who would answer each question as indicated. These kinds of maps are used to represent everything from election results to census and economic data (e.g., per capita income or unemployment rates). Thus, it is important to keep in mind that some geographic areas may be large, but have few residents (e.g., Mayo), while other geographic areas may be small, but have many residents (e.g., Dublin). For reference, The Central Statistics Office has published the relevant population density information.

  • What does the grey colour mean on some of the bars beneath the maps?

    The grey area reflects people who provided valid responses such as refusal to answer a question, saying they “Don’t know,” or gave an answer that was not modeled (e.g., “Currently doing the right amount”). We do not provide specific values for the grey areas because we did not develop estimates for these particular responses.

  • Where do the survey data underlying the estimates come from?

    The data underlying the maps come from a large national survey dataset (4,000 respondents) collected during May through July of 2021 as part of a collaboration between the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) and the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Reports using the individual-level survey data are available here:

     

Latest Climate Change

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Irelands Provisional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report 2022 cover page
Ireland's Provisional Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990-2021

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics team

This report outlines Ireland's provisional estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions published in July 2022

Projections report cover image
Ireland's Greenhouse Gas emissions projections 2021-2040

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics team

This report outlines Ireland's projected estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions published in June 2022

IIR 2022 Cover Image
Ireland's National Inventory Submission 2022

National submission of greenhouse gas emissions Ireland

Ireland's national inventory submission for years 1990-2020 including the National Inventory Report (NIR) and common reporting format (CRF) tables and any supplementary files.

GHG projections report
Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions projections 2020-2040

The 2021 GHG projections report for Ireland

Ireland's greenhouse gas emission projections 2020-2040

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Ireland's final greenhouse gas emissions 1990-2020

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics team

This EPA has produced final estimates of greenhouse gas emissions for the time period 1990-2020