No change in total Northern Ireland greenhouse gas emissions
The latest emission figures from the Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 1990-2013, have been published.
Northern Ireland’s 2013 GHG emissions are estimated at 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, similar to 2012 and only a small increase (1.2%) on the 2011 estimate. A significant drop in emissions was observed in the Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector as the previous year had included emissions from exceptional forest wildfires. In the waste sector there was also a notable reduction in emissions from landfill. However, emissions in the energy supply sector saw a large increase as global fuel prices are causing a shift in power generation from burning natural gas to coal. Across all sectors, the 2013 emission levels show a longer term decrease of 16% since the base year.
The largest sources of emissions in 2013 are agriculture (29%), transport and energy supply (both making up 18% each) and residential (13%). All sectors, except for transport, show a decreasing trend since the base year with the greatest decreases in emissions observed in the energy supply and waste sectors (decreasing by around 1.3 and 1.1 million tonnes respectively).
GHG emissions in the UK have reduced by 30% since the base year. Scotland and England have the greatest percentage reductions (35% and 32% respectively). Northern Ireland and Wales have markedly lower reductions (16% and 12% respectively). Caution is advised when comparing relative performance due to the levels of uncertainty around each of the estimates.
More key points:
· Transport emissions have increased by 0.7 MtCO2e (21.8%) since the base year. However since a peak (4.6 MtCO2e) in 2007 there has been a reduction of 11.4% over the last six reported years. This is partly due to improvements in average fuel efficiency of vehicles, the switch from petrol to diesel cars and from a reduction in traffic volumes.
· All other sectors have seen a decreasing trend in emissions since the base year. The greatest decreases in emissions have been in the energy supply and waste management sectors with decreases of 1.3 and 1.1 MtCO2e (23.9% and 62.5%) respectively between the base year and 2013. The decrease in the energy supply sector has been driven by the increased use of gas in power stations and homes in Northern Ireland since its introduction in 1996, as well as improved energy efficiency. The waste management sector trend can be explained by a decrease in emissions from landfill.
· Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas, and accounted for 67.3% (15.1 MtCO2) of all greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Ireland in 2013.
· Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions account for 4.0% of the total UK greenhouse gas emissions. However Northern Ireland accounts for 7.8% of the UK’s methane (CH4) and 9.1% of the UK’s nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The higher share of these gases is due to emissions from agricultural sources accounting for a higher proportion of the regional total than in 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 30.2%
– England has reduced emissions by 32.4%
– Scotland has reduced emissions by 35.4%
– Wales has reduced emissions by 11.9%
– Northern Ireland has reduced emissions by 16.1%
A more detailed statistical bulletin can be accessed via DOE’s website: http://www.doeni.gov.uk/index/information/asb/statistics/environment_statistics.htm#ghg.
The full report can be accessed through the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory website: http://naei.defra.gov.uk/reports/reports?report_id=810.