Ireland’s growth in emissions was third highest in EU at the start of this year

Ireland’s growth in greenhouse gas emissions this year was among the greatest in the EU, according to new estimates from Eurostat.

The figure indicates the hike in emissions in Ireland compared to the first three months of 2021 was the third highest in the EU. Only Bulgaria and Malta had higher increases.

Overall greenhouse gas emissions across the EU rose compared to the first quarter of 2021, but remained just below pre-pandemic levels.

Increases across the whole EU were attributed to a rebound in the economy following a significant fall in activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, emissions were down in almost all EU member states.

Since 2021, the increase in Ireland’s emissions has been on the rise. According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released last month, Ireland’s emissions grew by over 5% last year and surpassed pre-Covid levels.

The EPA noted that the rise was largely due to the energy industries sector, which tripled its oil and gas use in electricity generation last year.

The only countries that registered a decrease in emissions between the first quarter of this year and last year are the Netherlands and Finland, with a 9pc and 1pc decrease respectively.

All EU sectors had an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, with the exception of homes, which saw no change. With a 21 percent growth rate, the transportation and storage industry surpassed mining (15 percent) and construction (11%).

The EPA recently warned that “urgent” measures are needed for Ireland to meet its climate targets, based on greenhouse gas emissions projections for the period 2021 to 2040.

Country president of Schneider Electric Ireland, Chris Collins, said it is “alarming” that Ireland’s emissions continue to rise despite the warnings and that there is a lot of “catching up to do” to hit our climate goals.

He added that energy efficiency is one of the “fastest-growing ways” to cut carbon emissions, and that measuring the Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions of Irish businesses is “a crucial place to start”.

In order to achieve a 51 percent decrease in emissions overall by 2030, the Irish government has proposed sectoral emissions restrictions. The nation also joined the EU’s Integrated Carbon Observation System earlier this month. This network, which presently includes 15 participating nations, standardises carbon monitoring throughout Europe.

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