Northern Ireland greenhouse gas statistics 1990-2019 released

Date published: 15 June 2021

A statistical bulletin on greenhouse gas emissions for Northern Ireland, during the period 1990-2019, has been published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

DARD statistics

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.

Download the bulletin

The key points are:

  • In 2019, Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be 21.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This was a decrease of 1% compared with 2018. The longer term trend showed a decrease of 18% compared to the base year (1990).
  • The largest sectors in terms of emissions in 2019 were agriculture (26%), transport (20%) and residential (14%). 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 the energy sector fuel switching from coal to natural gas, a move replicated within the residential sector and the introduction of methane capture and oxidation systems in landfill management.
  • Northern Ireland accounted for 4% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. In total, the UK reduced emissions by 44% between the base year and 2019. Scotland and England reduced emissions by 45% and 44% respectively. Wales and Northern Ireland reduced emissions by 31% and 18% respectively.
  • A major revision of the measurement of UK emissions has been included in this year’s greenhouse gas inventory. The inclusion of the recommendations of the ‘wetlands supplement’ has resulted in an upward shift in the overall emissions recorded from 1990 – 2019 from that previously reported. Further details are available in Appendix A of the main report.


Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the twelfth 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 2019, the 95% confidence interval ranges from 10% to 28.
  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. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  8. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
  9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only 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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