Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2023 reach lowest level in three decades

Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 6.8 per cent last year, with reductions achieved in almost all sectors, ensuring the lowest overall level in three decades, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

New data “indicates a move towards reducing carbon emissions at the scale and pace required to meet [Ireland’s] climate ambition of a 51 per cent reduction by 2030″. It follows a reduction of 4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent compared to 2022.

EPA director general Laura Burke said the yearly fall was the largest reduction in emissions outside of recession. “These are significant findings that signal the impact of climate action and decarbonisation measures across Ireland’s economy and society. We see the impact of more renewables and interconnection powering electricity, less fossil fuel use in home heating, reduced nitrogen fertiliser use in agriculture and more biofuel in transport.”

“However, while these are positive results for the year 2023, we are still well off track in terms of meeting EU and national 2030 targets. We need to maintain and further build momentum,” she said.

Emissions per capita decreased from 11.4 tonnes to 10.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person in 2023, sustaining reductions in recent years. In total 55 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent were emitted, excluding emissions from land use, land use change and forestry.

Emissions from energy industries decreased by 21.6 per cent to 7.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, driven by a 12-fold increase in imported electricity (9.5 per cent of electricity supply in 2023), with an increase in renewable energy (to 40.7 per cent in 2023) and reduced use of coal, oil and peat.

Agriculture emissions decreased by 4.6 per cent to 20.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent due to an 18 per cent reduction in fertiliser nitrogen use, reduced lime application and overall reduction in numbers of livestock.

Residential emissions decreased by 7 per cent to 5.3 million tonnes, the second substantial annual reduction in succession.

Transport emissions increased marginally by 0.3 per cent to 11.8 million tonnes though they were 4.3 per cent below 2019 pre-Covid levels.

Read the full article by the Irish Times here.

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