A statistical bulletin on greenhouse gas emissions for Northern Ireland, during the period 1990-2020, has been published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
The statistical bulletin outlines key Northern Ireland figures from the Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The estimates were produced by Ricardo Energy and Environment on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The key points are:
- In 2020, Northern Ireland's net greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be 20.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). This net figure is a result of an estimated 22.0 MtCO2e total emissions, offset by 1.1 MtCO2e of emissions removed through sequestration.
- The net figure of 20.9 MtCO2e, in 2020, represents a decrease of 4.2% compared with 2019. The longer-term trend showed a decrease of 23.9% compared with emissions in 1990.
- In 2020, agriculture was the largest emitting sector, responsible for 26.6% of emissions. Transport contributed 16.2% to overall emissions, whilst the residential, energy supply and business sectors contributed 13.7%, 13.6% and 13.4%, respectively.
- The largest decreases between 2019 and 2020, in terms of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, were in the transport (-0.9 MtCO2e) and residential (-0.1 MtCO2e) sectors.
- The decline in transport emissions reflects the travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reduction in travel is reflected across all vehicle types, but particularly passenger cars and buses.
- The decline in residential emissions was driven by fuel switching from coal to natural gas, displacing more carbon intensive fuels.
- Northern Ireland accounted for 5.2% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. In the UK there has been a 49.9% reduction in emissions between the base year and 2020. During the same period, the reduction in emissions in Northern Ireland was 23.9%, compared to 52.6% in England, 51.0% in Scotland and 40.0% in Wales.