New carbon intensity indicators published

Date published: 06 December 2018

This publication was produced by Statistics and Analytical Services Branch in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and contains carbon intensity and supporting indicators.

DARD statistics

They have been released to complement the emissions data available from the historic greenhouse gas inventory and the Northern Ireland greenhouse gas projection tool, and to help Government track the effectiveness of their carbon reduction policies. The publication is available on the DAERA website

  • Greenhouse gas emissions per capita decreased 28% from 15.3 tonnes CO2 equivalent per person in 1990 to 11.0 tCO2e per person in 2016. The population increased by 17% over this period, while greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 16%.
  • The ratio of total greenhouse gas emissions to gross value added (GVA) in Northern Ireland decreased 57% from 1.26 kgCO2e/£ in 1998 to 0.54kg CO2e/£ in 2016. GVA is used here to measure NI's economic output, and over the 18 years shown it has grown substantially, while greenhouse gas emissions have been in decline.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity generated decreased 22% from 631gCO2/kWh in 2004 to 492gCO2/kWh in 2016. This has been driven by the growth of renewable generation in Northern Ireland, a shift away from coal use towards gas for electricity generation, and improvements in energy efficiency.
  • Residential greenhouse gas emissions per household decreased 17% over the past five years from a peak of 4.21 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per household in 2010 to 3.48 tonnes of CO2e in 2016. Fuel switching to natural gas from more carbon-intensive fuels such as coal and oil has reduced emissions, but more households creates greater demand for energy.
  • Road transport emissions per vehicle kilometre travelled increased 1% from 243 gCO2e per vehicle kilometre travelled in 2008 to 246 gCO2e in 2016. The change was driven by a decrease in road transport greenhouse gas emissions which was due to improvements in average fuel efficiency of vehicles. Vehicle kilometres travelled have been steady over the eight years.
  • Total emissions (excluding sequestration) related to milk production decreased from a population average of 1,927 (CO2e/kg ECM) in 1990 to 1285 (CO2e/kg ECM) in 2016. Whilst milk production in the dairy sector has expanded by 66% since 1990, the total number of dairy cows over this period has remained relatively static, meaning this improvement has been driven by substantial increases in milk yield per cow.
  • Waste management emissions per capita have decreased 64% from 1,166kgCO2e per person in 1990 to 422 kgCO2e per person in 2016. The population increased by 17% over this period while greenhouse gas emissions from waste management have fallen by 58%, due in a large part to the introduction of methane capture and oxidation systems at landfill sites.


    Notes to editors: 

    1. This is the third release of the Northern Ireland Carbon Intensity Indicators. It is intended that the indicators will be updated on an annual basis and commentary will be developed over time.
    2. Rather than measuring absolute emissions levels, emissions intensity is concerned with capturing the amount of CO2 equivalent generated per unit of output or per capita, e.g., power sector emissions per unit of electricity generated or total NI emissions per head of population. The value of taking such an approach is that, whilst overall emissions might be seen to be increasing for a particular sector in line with an expanding economy, the carbon intensity might actually be decreasing which could still be viewed as a positive outcome. The carbon intensity indicators are therefore another way of measuring the progress being made in NI towards reducing greenhouse emissions in terms of intensity as opposed to absolute emissions.
    3. The carbon intensity indicators are supplemented by a set of associated proxy indicators which, whilst not intensity indicators as such, are logically linked to emissions and/or emissions intensity levels.
    4. The indicators were agreed by the Mitigation Sub-Group of the Cross-Departmental Working Group on Climate Change (CDWGCC).
    5. This is an Official Statistics publication which follows the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
    6. The data in this report come from a range of sources. Sources are stated underneath each table, and links are provided. Trend data have been presented from as far back as practically available and up to latest year available. In some cases data may only recently become available. In such cases the current year will be the base year with the trend building from that point onwards.
    7. The indicators may be made available in alternative formats, please contact us to discuss your requirements: Statistics and Analytical Services Branch, Room 8.16, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3SB, Telephone: 028 9054 0916, E-mail:, Website.
    8. The Department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department’s internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.
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    10. All media enquiries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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