Northern Ireland greenhouse gas emissions decrease by over 5% between 2010 and 2011
The latest emission figures in the Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 1990-2011, have been published today (7 June 2013).
Northern Ireland’s 2011 emissions are estimated at 19,827 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This represents a decrease of over 5% compared to 2010. This is mainly due to a large reduction in burning oil use in the residential and business sectors after the exceptionally cold weather in 2010, and a reduction in emissions from coal consumption at power stations. The 2011 emission levels also show a longer term decrease of over 17% since the base year, 1990.
The largest sources of emissions in 2011 are agriculture (28%), transport (21%), energy supply (19%) and residential (16%). The majority of the emission source sectors have seen a decreasing trend since the base year with energy supply experiencing a 30% reduction and residential sector emissions decreasing by 25%. This has mainly been due to the increased use of gas in power stations and in homes in Northern Ireland over recent years.
In contrast, transport emissions have increased by 25% since the base year due to growth in transport demand and, in the past, an increased affordability of cars and fuel. Although since peaking in 2007 there has been a reduction in transport emissions of almost 9% over the last four reported years, which may in part be linked to the economic downturn and increasing fuel costs.
UK greenhouse gas emissions have reduced by 29% since the base year, with England and Scotland having the greatest percentage reductions of almost 31% each, and Northern Ireland having the lowest percentage reduction of just over 17%. However caution should be exercised when comparing the relative performance of individual countries due to the level of uncertainty around each individual estimate.
Other key points about Greenhouse Gases:
· The Programme for Government sets a target of a reduction of 35% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 from the base year.
· Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas, and accounted for 69.1% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Ireland in 2011 (13,700 kt CO2e).
· Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions account for 3.6% of the total UK greenhouse gas emissions. Within this however, Northern Ireland accounts for 6.9% of the UK’s methane (CH4) and 8.3% of the UK’s nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. This is due to emissions from agriculture being much more significant in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK.
· The trends in greenhouse gas source emissions since the base year for the UK countries are summarised below, but it should be noted that estimates for the individual countries are less certain than the overall UK estimate:
– UK has reduced emissions by 29.1%.
– England has reduced emissions by 30.9%.
– Scotland has reduced emissions by 30.8%.
– Wales has reduced emissions by 20.6%.
– Northern Ireland has reduced emissions by 17.5%.