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For more information on this release:
E-mail: environment@cso.ie Clare O'Hara (+353) 1 498 4208 Berna Lawlor (+353) 1 498 4210
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 Visit StatCentral.ie, the portal to Ireland's official statistics On-line ISSN 2009-7840
CSO statistical release, 15 November 2016, 11am

Environmental Accounts Air Emissions

2014

Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector
'000 tonnes CO2 equivalent 
NACE Sector20102011201220132014 2013-2014 % change
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing19,28118,65918,97319,74419,503 -1.2
Industry21,60019,66520,57119,35819,821 2.4
Services6,4046,2095,9246,0146,122 1.8
Households14,95013,59813,15513,36612,743 -4.7
       
Total62,23558,13058,62358,48258,189 -0.5

Greenhouse gas emissions decrease by 0.5% in 2014

Greenhouse gas emissions: 2014 sector distribution
go to full release
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions fell by 0.5% to 58.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2013 to 2014
  • Greenhouse gas emissions by households showed an annual decrease of 4.7% in 2014 while industry emissions increased by 2.4%
  • Emissions of most air pollutants decreased from 2013 to 2014 (see Table 13)

 

NACE Sector Distribution 2014

In 2014 greenhouse gas emissions by the industry sector constituted 34.1% of total greenhouse gas emissions while emissions by the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector were 33.5% of the total.

The household sector was the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases at 21.9% of the total and the remaining 10.5% of emissions originated with the services sector.

NACE Sector Trends 2005-2014

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

Emissions from agriculture, forestry and fishing decreased by 1.2% from 2013 to 2014. Data for 2005 to 2014 are shown in Table 1 and the trend can be seen in Figure 2; during this period there was an overall reduction in agriculture, forestry and fishing emissions of 4.8%. From 2005 to 2011 emissions fell year-on-year, reaching a low in 2011 of 18.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Emissions were higher again in 2012-2014 and in 2014 stood at 19.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Industry

Greenhouse gas emissions by the industry sector increased by 2.4% on the previous year in 2014. However industry emissions fell by 28.4% from 2005 to 2014,  largely as a result of a reduction in emissions from the electricity and gas supply industry (see Table 1). Emissions from industry were at their lowest in 2013 at 19.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, while 19.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent were released into the atmosphere as a result of industrial activity in 2014.

Services

Emissions by the services sector increased by 1.8% on 2013 emissions to 6.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The services sector was the source of between 10% and 12% of total greenhouse gas emissions for each of the ten years from 2005 to 2014.

Households

After an increase of 1.6% in 2013, household emissions of greenhouse gases fell by 4.7% in 2014 to 12.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Emissions from households increased steadily to a high of 15.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2008 after which they decreased each year with the exception of 2013. The trend in emissions from household activities can also be seen in Figure 2.

YearAgriculture, Forestry and FishingIndustryServicesHouseholds
200520.48827.7017.73414.398
200620.13827.0327.95314.593
200719.76926.3818.11714.729
200819.63225.9937.48915.26
200919.30421.6896.85114.944
201019.28121.66.40414.95
201118.65919.6656.20913.598
201218.97320.5715.92413.155
201319.74419.3586.01413.366
201419.50319.8216.12212.743
Air Pollutant Emission Trends

Sulphur dioxide emissions decreased by 23.8% in 2014, while emissions of nitrogen oxides decreased by 1.1% (see Tables 5 and 6). In the period from 2005 to 2014 sulphur dioxide emissions fell by 73.9% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 43.7%.

Ammonia emissions remained almost constant from 2013 to 2014 and emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) decreased by 2.7% (see Tables 7 and 8).

Carbon monoxide emissions fell by 7.0% in 2014 and by 47.3% between 2005 and 2014 (see Table 9).

Emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were reduced by 7.2% in 2014, while larger particulate matter (PM10) emissions fell by 4.6% (see Tables 10 and 11).

Air pollutantPercentage change 2013-2014
Sulphur dioxide-23.81
Nitrogen oxides-1.13
Ammonia0.3
Carbon monoxide-2.7
NMVOCs-6.99
PM2.5-7.23
PM10-4.55
Air Pollutant Emissions by NACE Sector

The NACE sector distribution of air emissions of each of the seven pollutants presented in this release is shown in Figure 4.

Sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions arise mainly from household and industry activities, while the main sources of NMVOC and PM10 emissions are households and the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector also produces 98.7% of ammonia emissions and households are the largest source of emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) into the atmosphere.

All sectors contribute emissions of nitrogen oxides with the services sector being the largest emitter at 37.0%.

Agriculture, Forestry and FishingIndustry Services Households
Sulphur dioxide0.3861.032.2936.29
Nitrogen oxides8.7429.1636.9725.13
Ammonia98.690.270.120.92
NMVOCs48.8514.235.7631.16
Carbon monoxide1.3425.310.1563.21
PM2.515.9216.47.9259.76
PM1045.6411.395.6237.35
Table 1 Greenhouse Gas Emissions (CO2, N2O, CH4, HFC, PFC, SF6, NF3) by NACE Sector
'000 tonnes CO2 equivalent     
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)20,48820,13819,76919,63219,30419,28118,65918,97319,74419,503
           
Industry (05-43)27,70127,03226,38125,99321,68921,60019,66520,57119,35819,821
Mining and quarrying (05-09)389433432376309217237223242267
Food products, beverages and tobacco products (10-12)1,5621,5071,4691,4581,3611,2911,1261,0951,2051,201
Textiles, wearing apparel and leather products (13-15)312624222216871110
Wood and paper products and printing (16-18)1431231131028910457667266
Coke and refined petroleum products (19)412378361368316311286314295280
Chemicals and chemical products (20)329256226141919896102128119
Basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (21)266254216283290263228229215202
Rubber and plastic products and other non-metallic mineral products (22-23)4,7774,6524,7834,2482,7682,4362,1562,4692,4122,975
Basic metals and fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment (24-25)1,1821,4891,5781,5721,2561,5491,5081,5011,4631,462
Computer, electronic and optical products (26)495408448447341244128123124124
Electrical equipment (27)81838660444741394649
Machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified (28)62626566568452525552
Transport equipment (29-30)35343832312213141312
Furniture; other manufacturing; repair and installation of machinery and equipment (31-33)187212188182167171110120121115
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (35)15,30714,58514,10914,20412,65512,93511,57512,30410,88910,703
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (36-39)1,7431,8531,5021,8781,5001,4391,4271,3821,5131,671
Construction (41-43)702677742554392373617531553514
           
Services (45-96)7,7347,9538,1177,4896,8516,4046,2095,9246,0146,122
           
Households14,39814,59314,72915,26014,94414,95013,59813,15513,36612,743
           
Total greenhouse gas emissions70,32169,71568,99568,37462,78762,23558,13058,62358,48258,189
Table 2 Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions
'000 tonnes C02
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)1,4941,4471,4821,4011,3021,3621,2481,0911,3121,099
           
Industry (05-43)25,31424,53224,26724,07820,00119,92917,92018,92617,50917,769
Mining and quarrying (05-09)353403383334283193212199218233
Food products, beverages and tobacco products (10-12)1,4431,3351,2971,3121,2011,1309639331,012985
Textiles, wearing apparel and leather products (13-15)312624222216871110
Wood and paper products and printing (16-18)1421221111018810356657165
Coke and refined petroleum products (19)411377360367315310285313294279
Chemicals and chemical products (20)327255225141919796101127119
Basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (21)265253215281289261227228214201
Rubber and plastic products and other non-metallic mineral products (22-23)4,7644,6394,7694,2352,7582,4262,1472,4582,4012,962
Basic metals and fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment (24-25)1,1781,4851,5741,5681,2531,5451,5041,4981,4601,460
Computer, electronic and optical products (26)18315620726523117386908985
Electrical equipment (27)61535735162013121312
Machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified (28)53525555487643444542
Transport equipment (29-30)34343731302212141312
Furniture; other manufacturing; repair and installation of machinery and equipment (31-33)1621831581701521568810210094
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (35)15,13914,41313,93514,00812,46912,74811,40612,13710,73810,555
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (36-39)98110158633397313192229191185
Construction (41-43)672638701522359340581496511469
           
Services (45-96)7,3867,5017,6567,0676,4035,9555,7505,4725,5015,570
           
Households13,75913,92614,08914,62914,29114,31212,97712,54212,72712,121
           
Total carbon dioxide emissions47,95247,40647,49347,17641,99641,55837,89538,03237,04936,559
Table 3 Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions
'000 tonnes N2O
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)23.122.321.721.721.522.020.721.022.321.9
           
Industry (05-43)0.80.90.91.00.91.00.90.90.90.9
           
Services (45-96)0.30.30.30.30.30.30.30.30.30.3
           
Households0.50.50.40.30.30.30.30.30.30.3
           
Total nitrous oxide emissions24.724.023.423.323.123.622.222.523.823.4
Table 4 Methane (CH4) Emissions
'000 tonnes CH4
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)484.4481.7472.4470.4463.4454.1449.3464.9471.5474.5
           
Industry (05-43)65.669.053.448.841.842.146.042.548.755.1
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (36-39)61.165.048.944.738.639.143.339.946.452.5
Other industry4.54.04.64.03.23.02.72.52.32.5
 
Services (45-96)0.60.60.60.60.60.50.60.60.70.7
           
Households8.78.58.18.59.08.67.97.78.17.1
           
Total methane emissions559.2559.7534.5528.3514.8505.3503.8515.6529.0537.3
Table 5 Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) Emissions
'000 tonnes SO2
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)1.10.90.80.40.50.40.10.10.10.1
          
Industry (05-43)57.848.743.436.723.918.217.616.616.211.8
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (35)42.536.830.825.215.79.59.49.68.76.0
Other industry15.311.912.511.58.28.78.37.07.55.8
          
Services (45-96)2.52.22.11.20.90.80.80.80.70.4
          
Households12.611.210.79.39.28.88.17.68.37.0
          
Total sulphur dioxide emissions74.063.056.947.534.428.326.625.225.419.3
Table 6 Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Emissions
'000 tonnes NOx
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)161413131198887
           
Industry (05-43)58555445292621252322
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (35)32302722131281098
Other industry25252723161513151515
           
Services (45-96)42434239343029272728
           
Households21202021202019192019
           
Total nitrogen oxide emissions137133130117948677797877
                
Table 7 Ammonia (NH3) Emissions
'000 tonnes NH3
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)107.2106.4103.4104.6106.0104.4100.5101.6103.5103.9
           
Industry (05-43)0.30.30.30.30.20.30.20.20.20.3
 
Services (45-96)0.20.20.20.20.20.10.10.10.10.1
           
Households2.32.22.01.91.71.51.31.21.11.0
           
Total nitrogen oxide emissions110.0109.1105.9107.0108.2106.3102.2103.2105.0105.3
Table 8 Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compound (NMVOC) Emissions
'000 tonnes NMVOC
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)43.843.342.842.642.541.441.142.443.142.6
           
Industry (05-43)16.817.919.116.214.512.312.211.612.112.4
           
Services (45-96)8.69.09.08.06.86.15.95.45.25.0
           
Households35.634.333.633.132.630.729.228.329.127.2
           
Total NMVOC emissions104.8104.5104.699.996.490.588.487.789.687.1
Table 9 Carbon Monoxide (CO) Emissions
'000 tonnes CO
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)4333322222
           
Industry (05-43)43403936293129312829
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (35)23202018151616191616
Other industry21191918151413121213
           
Services (45-96)22212120161413121212
           
Households14813712612011210091848172
           
Total carbon monoxide emissions217201189179159147135129123115
 
Table 10 Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Emissions
'000 tonnes PM2.5
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)2.82.72.62.62.52.42.32.42.32.3
           
Industry (05-43)4.44.03.73.52.72.72.32.22.22.4
           
Services (45-96)2.12.02.01.81.51.31.31.21.21.2
           
Households10.29.99.810.210.910.49.69.510.08.7
           
Total PM2.5 emissions19.418.718.118.117.616.715.515.215.714.6
Table 11 Particulate Matter (PM10) Emissions
'000 tonnes PM10
NACE Rev. 22005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (01-03)11.611.311.111.511.311.211.211.311.211.1
           
Industry (05-43)5.04.64.34.03.13.12.62.62.52.8
           
Services (45-96)2.52.42.32.11.81.51.51.41.41.4
           
Households10.510.310.210.711.310.89.99.810.49.1
          
Total PM10 emissions29.628.627.928.327.526.625.325.125.524.4
Table 12 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
'000 tonnes
GasUnit2005200620072008200920102011201220132014
CO2 emissions CO247,95247,40647,49347,17641,99641,55837,89538,03237,04936,559
            
N2O emissionsN2O25242323232422222423
 
CH4 emissionsCH4559560535528515505504516529537
 
HFC, PFC, SF6, NF3 emissionsCO2 equivalent1,0201,1791,1751,0371,0381,0121,0179961,1231,212
Table 13 Air Pollutant Emissions
'000 tonnes
Pollutant2005200620072008200920102011201220132014
SO2 emissions74635747342827252519
          
NOX emissions137133130117948677797877
          
NH3 emissions110109106107108106102103105105
          
CO emissions217201189179159147135129123115
          
NMVOC emissions105104105100969188889087
           
PM2.5 emissions19191818181715151615
           
PM10 emissions30292828282725252624

Background Notes

Environmental Accounts, Air Emissions

Introduction                        

The air emissions accounts classify emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants by emitting economic sector.

Data sources                     

The figures presented in this release are based on the air emissions inventories submitted annually by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the United Nations under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). 

Revisions                            

This release incorporates revisions to the air emissions estimates previously published by the CSO, including the revisions made by the EPA to the annual national air emissions inventory.

Greenhouse gases           

The three main greenhouse gases included in this publication are carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4).  As greenhouse gas emissions from human activities increase, they build up in the atmosphere, warming it through the greenhouse effect.  Because many of the major greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for tens to hundreds of years after being released, their warming effects on the climate persist over a long time and can therefore affect both present and future generations.

Carbon dioxide emissions are the result of burning fossil fuels such as coal, turf and petroleum for heat, power and transport.  Industrial processes such as cement production also emit CO2.

Nitrous oxide emissions arise from nitrogen fertilisers used in agriculture and a small number of industrial processes.

Methane emissions are caused by the digestive systems of ruminant animals, waste water treatment plants and landfill sites.

There are other greenhouse gases: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). The emissions from these gases account for approximately 2% of the total greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland, and are included in the total of greenhouse gases in Tables 1 and 12.  There are several types of HFC and PFC, each of which can have a distinct global warming potential conversion factor.

Global warming potential

Greenhouse gas emissions by different gases are compared using the global warming potentials (GWPs) for a 100-year time horizon from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report of 2007. The GWP is a measure of the global warming effect of a given mass of a greenhouse gas compared with the global warming effect of the same mass of carbon dioxide. The GWP for methane is 25 and that of nitrous oxide is 298. The GWPs of the fluoridated gases vary but many are in the thousands or tens of thousands.

Greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide may be converted into tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent  by multiplying their masses by their global warming potentials. Further details are available at the IPCC website (https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-10-2.html).

 

 

Air pollutants      

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a gas which is formed when sulphur-containing fuels (mainly coal and oil) are burned in power stations.  Exposure to high concentrations of SO2 can lead to breathing difficulties for people with long-term respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are produced during combustion at high temperatures; the main sources in Ireland are vehicles and power stations. The industrial sector is also a significant contributor to NOx levels, particularly the cement production industry.  Exposure to NOx is linked to adverse respiratory effects, and long-term exposure increases the risk of respiratory infection in children.

Ammonia (NH3) emissions arise primarily from animal manure and nitrogen-based fertilisers.  Exposure to high levels of ammonia may irritate the skin, eyes, throat and lungs.

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) are emitted as gases by a wide array of products including paints, paint strippers, glues, adhesives and cleaning agents.  They also arise as a product of incomplete combustion of fuels and as such are a component of car exhaust emissions.  Exposure to NMVOCs can lead to eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea and damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless gas, formed from incomplete oxidation during combustion of fuel.  Emissions of CO in Ireland are mostly vehicle emissions, although tobacco smoke and poorly adjusted and maintained combustion devices (such as boilers) also contribute.  Concentrations of CO tend to be higher in areas with heavy traffic congestion.  Carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream through the lungs, where it affects the body’s uptake of oxygen.  Exposure in ambient air is most serious for people with cardiovascular diseases.

Particulate matter of median aerodynamic diameter 2.5 microns (PM2.5) or ‘fine’ particulate matter is particle pollution composed of a mixture of solids and liquids. Depending on the source of the matter these can include acids (nitrates and sulphates), volatile organic compounds, soil, metals and dust particles.   The main sources of particulate matter of median aerodynamic diameter 10 microns (PM10) in Ireland are combustion of solid fuels and vehicular traffic.  The main health impact of particulate matter arises from its ability to penetrate deep into the respiratory tract.

Forestry and soil sequestration    

No adjustment has been made for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from forest or soil sequestration.

Air transport                       

Only gases and pollutants resulting from domestic flights Landings and Take-Offs (LTOs) and cruising from one Irish airport to another Irish airport are accounted for under IPCC guidelines. No emissions from international flights are accounted for.

NACE allocation            

Emissions are distributed across NACE sectors according to the correspondences between Common Reporting Format (CRF)/Nomenclature For Reporting (NFR) codes in the Air Emissions Inventory and NACE Rev. 2 sectors. 

In some cases there is a one-to-one correspondence between the CRF/NFR codes and a NACE Rev. 2 sector.  In this case, the total emissions from this CRF/NFR code are attributed to that NACE Rev. 2 sector.  In many cases, a single CRF/NFR corresponds to more than one NACE sector.  In these cases, emissions are assigned across NACE sectors by the CSO by using expenditure on fuel by each NACE sector.  The data on fuel use are collected in the CSO’s Census of Industrial Production and Annual Services Inquiry. 

Data for all years has been presented using the NACE Rev. 2 classification, which came into effect in 2008.  The CSO Census of Industrial Production and Annual Services Inquiry data for 2000-2007 were reclassified from NACE Rev. 1.1 at enterprise level.

Electricity and gas supply           

Emissions from the production of electricity and gas are allocated to the suppliers of energy rather than the end users, and so are allocated to NACE Rev. 2 division 35, (Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply).

Road transport              

Road transport emissions are attributed to individual economic sectors according to the principal activity of the business.  If the transport of passengers and freight is the principal activity of a business, then the related emissions are attributed to NACE Rev. 2 division 49 (Land transport).  If road transport is a secondary or ancillary activity to the main business, then the related road transport emissions are allocated to the main NACE division of the enterprise. 

The Environmental Protection Agency’s detailed modelled road transport emissions data are combined with CSO Road Freight Transport data, private vehicle registration data and road traffic volumes data to allocate road transport usage across NACE sectors. 

There is one CRF/NFR code for road transport in the EPA Air Emissions Inventory.  This emissions figure is generally distributed across NACE sectors by using expenditure on transport fuel by each NACE sector. The data on transport fuel are collected in the Census of Industrial Production and the Annual Services Inquiry. 

Road freight transport data are allocated initially by using the tonne-km data collected by the CSO.  This data allocates emissions to the main NACE sectors responsible for road freight as identified in the CSO Road Freight Transport Survey.  For the remaining unspecified sectors, emissions are attributed across NACE sectors using expenditure on transport fuel by each NACE sector.

Emissions from private cars are split into household vehicles, small Public Service Vehicles (which are assigned to NACE 49) and company cars, whose emissions are distributed across all NACE sectors proportionally according to expenditure on transport fuel by each NACE sector. 

Emissions from buses are allocated to NACE 49.  Emissions from motorcycles are allocated to households.

Landfill waste                     

Landfill waste accounts for approximately 7% of methane (CH4) emissions.  The NACE Rev. 2 classification for waste treatment is NACE 37-39 (Sewerage and waste management).  Most landfill sites are owned and operated by local authorities who are categorised under NACE 84 (Public Administration and Defence).  However, all CH4 emissions from landfill waste have been classified under NACE 37-39, as this is the NACE sector of the local unit.

 

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