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Greenhouse gas emissions from Irish power generation and industrial companies fell by 8.7% last year

Aviation emissions from flights within the European Economic Area to Ireland rose by 2.8%.

Image: Shutterstock

EMISSIONS FROM IRISH power generation and industrial companies fell 8.7% – 1.3 million tonnes – last year, according to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This mirrors a decrease of approximately 8.9 % across Europe.

The EPA said the decrease in emissions is due to a significant drop in power generation emissions (a 12.3% decrease) as a result of the strong presence of renewable energy – mainly wind generation – and less use of fossil fuels in our energy mix.

Emissions decreased by 65% from the ESB coal-fired plant at Moneypoint, again mainly due to the availability of renewables.

Aside from power generation, the decrease in industrial emissions collectively is 3%.

  • Cement industries recorded a 2% decrease overall
  • The dairy industry showed a 3% decrease and
  • Emissions from pharmachem industries also decreased by 0.4%.

Aviation emissions from flights within the European Economic Area reported to Ireland rose last year by 2.8% compared to 2018, to 12.77 million tonnes, according to the EPA. 

“Aside from power generation, the reductions have been more modest in other sectors and  attributable to a small number of players, with an increase recorded from aviation,” Dr Maria Martin, EPA senior manager said today.

“We need to see consistent reductions in emissions across all sectors to reach our goal of a low-carbon economy.”

The government’s Climate Action Plan, published last year, aims to reduce emissions by 35% by 2030 (or 3.5% per year on average).

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said the reduction has been largely due to investment in renewable energy capacity, which stands at around 33% of all electricity generation. 

“Through the Climate Action Plan, we have committed to increasing this to 70% by 2030,” he said. 

“These results show that it is possible to break the link between economic progress and carbon emissions. Last year, the economy grew by 6% but our electricity and major industrial emissions fell by 8.7%. It is welcome progress, but we must do more.”

The minister said the upcoming Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) auctions and the preparatory work to grow the renewables on the grid will be important developments.

“As we consider our future recovery, we must ensure that climate resilience is built in and that we leverage Ireland’s natural assets and invest in our renewable capacity, particularly offshore wind,” Bruton said. 

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