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 1990-2022 inventory data in July 2023 and latest 2022-2030 projections estimates in June 2023.

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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 decreased in 2022

Change in emissions since 2021

-1.9%

Emissions decreases were driven by the reductions in the Residential sector, Industry, Agriculture and Electricity generation. The overall emissions reduction, while welcome, falls short of reductions required to achieve National and new EU targets.

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Latest emissions estimates

Ireland’s latest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 1990-2022 are provisional figures based on the SEAI’s energy balance released in June 2023.

Latest emissions data

60.76 Mt CO2eq

Ireland’s provisional GHG emissions are estimated to be 60.76 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq)

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Energy industries

Greenhouse gas emissions decreased in 2022 due to the reduction in coal, oil and peat use and an increase in renewable energy for electricity generation

Emissions mainly from electricity generation

-1.8%

Decreases in coal (-16.1%), oil (-29.1%) and peat (-24.8%) used in electricity generation in 2022

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Residential

Residential/household sector was responsible for 10.0% of Ireland's GHG emissions in 2022

Residential emissions

-12.7%

Compared to 2021, the reduction was driven by high fuel prices, a milder winter and a shift away from emission intensive fuel such as coal and peat, to oil and natural gas

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Transport emissions

Emissions increased by 6.0% in 2022 following the ending of COVID travel restrictions

Transport

+6.0%

At the end of 2022, there were just under 72,000 electric vehicles in Ireland, approximately 37% of the Climate Action Plan target for 2025.

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Agriculture

Decreased emissions in 2022, driven by decreased nitrogen fertiliser use (-14.0% in 2022), partially offset by increased numbers of dairy cows (+0.9%), other cattle (+0.3%) and sheep (+4.2%)

Agriculture emissions

-1.2%

Overall decrease in agriculture emissions

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Waste

Emissions from the Waste sector increased by 4.9% in 2022, due to an increase in emissions of methane from landfills by 7.1%.

Waste sector emissions

+4.9%

2022 reverses an overall decreasing emissions trend in this sector

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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 combined share of emissions

2.4%

Emissions from Commercial Services increased by 0.2% and Public Services decreased by 1.9% in 2022.

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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 emissions decreased

-7.1%

This sector was responsible for 7.1% of Ireland's total GHG emissions in 2022.

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Industrial processes

In 2022 the industrial processes sector was responsible for 3.8% and F-gases 1.2% of Ireland's total GHG emissions

Industrial processes

-7.5%

Cement sector process emissions decreased by 7.5% in 2022 following a 17.5% increase in 2021

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LULUCF

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

Provisional inventory data for 2022 shows that land use, land use change and forestry activity emit

7.3 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 2022 annual limit, without the use of flexibilities, set under the EU’s Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) by 3.72 Mt CO2eq.

Compliance with national target requires a reduction of

51%

by 2030 compared to 2018. Provisional National total emissions (including LULUCF) for 2021 and 2022 have used 47% of the 295 Mt CO2eq Carbon Budget for the five-year period 2021-2025, leaving 53% of the budget available for the succeeding three years.

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

  • What is the Climate Change in the Irish Mind study?

    The ‘Climate Change in the Irish Mind’ project is a baseline study of the Irish people’s beliefs, attitudes, policy preferences and behaviours regarding climate change. Wave 1 consists of two reports; the ‘Climate Change in the Irish Mind report’. This was followed by a segmentation report in 2022 titled ‘Climate Changes’ Four Irelands’.

  • When and how was this data collected?

    The fieldwork for CCIM Wave 1 was conducted during 24th May to 29th July 2021 via telephone interviews. Data was collected from a total of 4,000 respondents.

  • What data has been collected for wave 1 of this study?

    Participants were asked a number of baseline questions including gender, age, ethnicity etc. Participants were also asked to respond to a number of climate related questions and statements, which formulated the findings of the CCIM report. For an in depth explanation of the survey wording & questions asked, please visit the following link: Survey Question Wording


    Sensitive variables that comprised < 2% of the sample size were adjusted in order to protect participants. These variables included gender identity, religion, ethnicity etc. This was done by removing direct identifiers and aggregating categories

  • What do WEM and WAM scenarios in emissions projections mean?

    The WEM scenario is a projection of future emissions based on the measures currently implemented and actions committed to by Government. To become part of the WEM scenario a policy or measure must be in place by the end of 2021 (the latest inventory year) and the projected emissions reduction is commensurate with the resources or legislation already in place or committed to Government Departments or Agencies. For example, the WEM scenario includes a measure where the Carbon tax increases annually and reaches €100 per tonne by 2030. This policy is considered to be implemented because annual Carbon tax increases have been committed to in legislation (Finance Act 2020).

    The WAM scenario is the projection of future emissions based on the measures outlined in the latest Government plans at the time Projections are compiled. This includes all policies and measures included in the WEM scenario, plus those included in government plans but not yet implemented. For example, the WAM scenario includes the target of 945,000 Electric Vehicles on the road by 2030 in the Climate Action Plan 2023. The full amount of this ambition is not currently in the With Existing Measures scenario as actions still remain to be taken that would deliver it.

    Further information on the policies and measures for the individual sectors that are included in both With Existing Measures and With Additional Measures scenarios in the latest emissions projections is available in Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections 2022-2040.

     

  • What F-gases are in greenhouse gas inventories and projections?

    These gases comprise HFCs (hydroflurocarbons), PFCs (perfluorcarbons), SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride) and NF3 (nitrogen trifluoride). They are much more potent than the naturally occurring greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide).

    Global warming potential of greenhouse gases in the inventories and projections;

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) GWP = 1

    Methane (CH4) GWP = 28

    Nitrous oxide (N2O) GWP = 265

    Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) GWP = 4 to 12,400

    Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) GWP = 6630 to >17,400

    Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) GWP = 23,500

    Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) GWP = 16,100

    The mass emission of any gas multiplied by its GWP gives the equivalent emission of the gas as carbon dioxide. This is known as CO2 equivalent. This makes it easier to sum up the emissions and contribution of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) to climate change and determine options to address climate change.

Latest Climate Change

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Ireland’s Provisional Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990-2022

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics Team

This report provides early insight into the annual greenhouse gas emissions in advance of final data being submitted to the EU and UN in 2024.

Ireland's GHG Projections 2022-2040 Cover
Ireland's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections 2022-2040

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics Team

This report outlines Ireland's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections 2022-2040 published June 2023.

Final report cover 2023
Ireland's Final Greenhouse Gas emissions report 1990-2021

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics Team

This report outlines Ireland's final estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions published March 2023.

NIR 2023
Ireland's National Inventory Submissions 2023

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics Team

The EPA has produced Ireland's annual inventory submissions including the National Inventory Report (NIR) and Common Reporting Format (CRF) data files and supplementary information if available. The NIR contains transparent and detailed information on the inventory for years 1990-2021. The CRF tables contain all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals, implied emission factors and activity data..

Ireland's Air Pollutant Emissions Cover Page 2023
Ireland's Air Pollutant Emissions 2021 (1990-2030)

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics Team

This report outlines Ireland's Air Pollutant Emissions published May 2023.