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 final 1990-2021 inventory data in April 2023 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.




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


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 final figures based on the SEAI’s energy balance released in October 2022.

Latest emissions data

62.11 Mt CO2eq

Ireland’s GHG emissions are estimated to be 62.11 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


Coal in electricity generation +245.5% in 2021

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Residential/household sector was responsible for 11.14% of Ireland's GHG emissions in 2021

Residential emissions


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

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Transport emissions

Emissions increased by 6.7% in 2021 due to partial lifting of COVID restrictions



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

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

Agriculture emissions


Overall increase in agriculture emissions

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Emissions from the Waste sector decreased by 3.0% in 2021, with a decrease in sub category; landfills of 4.8%.

Waste sector emissions


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


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


This sector was responsible for 7.4% 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


Cement sector process emissions increased by 18.8% in 2021

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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

7.3 Mt CO2eq

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

Assessment of compliance

The final 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 3.29 Mt CO2eq.

Compliance with national target requires a reduction of


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

  • 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.

  • What do these maps depict?

    The maps depict estimates of the percentage of adult residents of Ireland (age 18 and over) who hold particular beliefs, attitudes, and policy preferences about climate change. The estimates were generated from a statistical model that incorporates actual survey responses but combines these responses with demographic data from the Ireland Central Statistics Office (CSO) (Census 2016 Reports - CSO - Central Statistics Office) to estimate opinions for different groups of people based on information such as their gender, age, and county of residence.

  • 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 Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC). Reports using the individual-level survey data are available here:


  • 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.

Latest Climate Change

in: Climate change
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.

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..

IIR 2023
Ireland's UNECE Submission 2023

Prepared by EPA's Emissions Statistics Team

This EPA has produced Ireland's submissions under UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutant (CLRTAP) and National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD) include the Informative Inventory Report (IIR) and Nomenclature for Reporting (NFR) tables. The IIR and NFR contain detailed information on methodologies, activity data and emissions factors and emissions for years 1990-2021.