Northern Ireland greenhouse gas statistics 1990-2018 released

Date published: 16 June 2020

A statistical bulletin on greenhouse gas emissions for Northern Ireland, during the period 1990-2018, has been published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

DARD report

The statistical bulletin outlines key Northern Ireland figures from the Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The estimates were produced by Ricardo Energy and Environment on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

The key points are:

  • In 2018, Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be 19.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This was a decrease of 2% compared to 2017. 
  • The longer term trend showed a decrease of 20% compared to the base year (1990).
  • The largest sectors in terms of emissions in 2018 were agriculture (27%), transport (23%) and energy supply (15%). Most sectors showed a decreasing trend since the base year.
  • The largest decreases, in terms of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, were in the energy supply, waste management and residential sectors. These were driven by improvements in energy efficiency, fuel switching from coal to natural gas, which became available in the late 1990s, and the introduction of methane capture and oxidation systems in landfill management.
  • Northern Ireland accounted for 4% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. In total, the UK reduced emissions by 43% between the base year and 2018. England and Scotland reduced emissions by 46% and 45%. Wales and Northern Ireland reduced emissions by 31% and 20% respectively.

Download the Northern Ireland greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2018 statistical bulletin

Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the eleventh release of the Northern Ireland greenhouse gas inventory statistical bulletin.  It will continue to be updated annually.  The data were produced by Ricardo Energy and Environment, on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
  2. Emissions are reported for seven greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). Depending on their molecular weights, radiative properties and residence times in the atmosphere, each greenhouse gas has a different capacity to cause global warming. The base year is 1990 for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and 1995 for the fluorinated gases. The fluorinated gases are hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride.
  3. All emission figures presented in this press release are taken from the by source inventory, which attributes emissions to the sector (and region) that produces them. There is also an end user inventory which reallocates the emissions by source in accordance with where the end user activity occurred, i.e. emissions from power stations would be reallocated to the users of this electricity, e.g. domestic homes and industry.
  4. The greenhouse gas emission estimates are based on a wide range of data sources and sources of uncertainty include statistical differences, assumptions, proxy datasets and expert judgement. In addition, the natural variability in the processes that are being modelled introduce uncertainty. For example, carbon content of fuels and farming practices under different climatic conditions and soil types. The uncertainties are presented as confidence intervals. The width of the interval provides a measure of the accuracy of the estimate. For the percentage reduction between the base year and 2018, the 95% confidence interval ranges from 11% to 31%, with a central estimate of 20%.
  5. These statistics are released according to the Statement of Compliance with the Pre-release access to Official Statistics Order (NI) 2009. Official Statistics are produced to a high professional standard. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
  6. UK greenhouse gas inventory National Statistics user guide provides a simple guide to the origins and use of data in the compilation of the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory. This guide can be accessed through the Department of Energy and Climate Change website.
  7. 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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  9. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email:
  10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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