In 2019, Ireland’s GHG emissions are estimated to be 59.78 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq), which is 4.4% lower (or 2.75 Mt CO2 eq) than emissions in 2018 (62.53 Mt CO2 eq). There was a small increase of 0.7% in emissions reported for 2018 compared to 2017. Emissions reductions have been recorded in six of the last ten years of inventory data (2009-2019). In 2019 national total emissions decreased by 4.4%, emissions in the stationary ETS sector decreased by 8.7% and emissions under the ESD (Effort Sharing Decision) decreased by 3.0%. This is the first time all 3 category totals have decreased in the same year since 2013.
Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4.4% (2.75 Mt CO2eq) in 2019 compared to 2018 with decreases observed in all sectors except for commercial services and public services. These 2 sectors showed small increases in emissions (+1.8% and +1.2% respectively), shown highlighted red in the "Emissions change 2018-2019" table below.
These decreases in emissions is a small step on the road to achievement of Ireland’s long-term decarbonisation goals.
Arresting growth in emissions is a challenge in the context of a growing economy but one which must continue to be addressed by households, business, farmers and communities if Ireland is to reap the benefits of a low-carbon economy.
Show emissions change 2019-2019
|Mt CO2 eq||2018||2019||% Change|
Open in Excel: Change 2018-2019 by sector (XLS 11KB)
The table below shows the assessment of compliance under the European Union's Effort Sharing Decision which sets 2020 targets for sectors outside of the (EU ETS) and annual binding limits for the period 2013-2020. The years 2013-2018 have been reviewed and compliance agreed by the European Commission under Article 19 of the MMR No. 525/2013. Ireland has exceeded its Effort Sharing Decision annual limit for 2016, 2017 and 2018 and estimates indicate an exceedance of 6.85 Mt CO2 eq for 2019. In contrast to sectors in the EU ETS which are regulated at EU level, Ireland is responsible for national policies and measures to limit emissions from the sectors covered by Effort Sharing legislation. Further information can be found on the European Commission website on Effort Sharing and emission targets.
Effort sharing decision emissions and targets
|F||Total ESD emissions||42,206.8||41,663.0||43,037.2||43,798.2||43,828.7||45,378.6||45,579.8||0.0||kt CO2eq|
|G||EU ESD Targets||46,891.9||45,760.9||44,629.9||43,498.9||40,885.1||39807.1||38729.2||37,651.3||kt CO2eq|
|Distance to target (= F-G)||-4,685.1||-4,097.9||-1,592.7||299.3||2,943.7||5571.4||6850.5|
Open in Excel: ESD targets download (XLS 10KB)
As the graph below shows Ireland has higher than average emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) because we have the highest agriculture emission contribution from any of the EU member states. A similar pattern can be seen in New Zealand where agriculture is also an important part of the economy. These figures reflect the relative importance of agriculture to Ireland’s economy, and the lack of heavy industry in comparison to some other member states. Agricultural emissions are dominated by CH4 from enteric fermentation and manure management and N2O from fertiliser, manure applied to land and animal excreta deposited directly onto pasture. The graph below is based on 2019 data, which is the most recent available on the EEA data viewer.
Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased in the period from 1990 to 2001 where it peaked at 70.46 Mt CO2 equivalent, before displaying a downward trend to 2014. Emissions increased by 4.1% and 3.4%, respectively in the years, 2015 and 2016 and remained relatively stable in 2017 and 2018. In 2019 final estimates of total national GHG emissions amounted to 59.78Mt CO2 equivalent, which is 4.4 per cent lower than 2018 emissions. Ireland’s GHG emissions have increased by 9.9 per cent from 1990-2019.
In relation to the greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for 62.4% of the total, with methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) contributing 24.6% and 11.45% as CO2 equivalent, respectively and F-gases contributing 1.5 per cent of the total as CO2 equivalent.
In 2019, the energy industries, transport and agriculture sectors accounted for 71.4% of total GHG emissions. Agriculture is the single largest contributor to the overall emissions, at 35.4 per cent. Transport, Energy Industries and the Residential sector are the next largest contributors, at 20.4 per cent, 15.8 per cent and 10.9 per cent, respectively.