Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased in 2022 compared with the previous year, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Total emissions were 1.9% lower due to decreases in the residential, agricultural and energy sectors.
However, emissions from the transport sector increased by 6%.
The EPA’s latest assessment of annual greenhouse gas emissions has found that small progress in reducing harmful emissions has been made, but Ireland is still falling short of the reductions required to meet national and EU targets.
Overall, emissions dropped by 1.9% in 2022 compared with 2021 levels.
In the energy sector, emissions fell by 1.8% as a result less coal, oil and peat being burned for power generation.
Coal use was down 16%, oil fell by 29% and peat decreased by 25%.
However, some of these reductions were offset by an increase in the burning of natural gas.
Renewable electricity also contributed to the overall sectoral reduction. It amounted to 38.6% of the electricity generated, which is an increase of more than 3% compared to 2021.
In the agriculture sector emissions fell despite an increase in animal numbers
In the agriculture sector, emissions fell by 1.2% because of a 14% reduction in the use of artificial nitrogen fertiliser resulting in less emissions from soils.
The reductions occurred despite an increase in dairy cow, other cattle and sheep numbers.
The agriculture sector is responsible for over 38% of emissions.
It remains the largest contributor to Ireland’s emissions with nearly 61 million tonnes emitted last year.
Emissions from the residential sector decreased 12.7% due to drastic reductions in domestic fuel consumption last year, which the EPA said was price and regulation-related.
Coal use decreased by 33%, peat by 13%, oil by 10% and natural gas by 9%.
The EPA said a milder winter in 2022 helped reduce residential energy consumption.
However, in the transport sector emissions rose 6% as road transport reaches 95% of pre-Covid levels.
Sales of petrol and diesel were up 14% and 5.5% respectively.
The EPA said 72,000 battery electric or hybrid vehicles were sold last year, exceeding the target set by the Government for 2022.
It also amounts to 8% of the target set for 2030.
The agriculture sector is followed by transport at 19.1%, the energy sector at 16.6% and the residential sector at 10%.