Power generation and industrial emissions drop by 8.7% – EPA

New figures from the Environmental Protection Agency show that greenhouse gas emissions from Irish power generation and industrial companies fell by 8.7% last year. 

This mirrors a decrease of about 8.9% across Europe in 2019 and comes despite the country’s strong economic growth during the year.

The EPA said the decrease in emissions was due to a significant 12.3% drop in power generation emissions as a result of the strong presence of renewable energy – mainly wind generation – and less use of fossil fuels in the country’s energy mix. 

It also noted that emissions decreased by 65% cent from the ESB coal-fired plant at Moneypoint in Co Clare. 

Today’s figures show that the cement industry saw a 2% decrease in emissions last year, while the dairy industry reported a 3% fall and emissions from pharmachem industries also decreased by 0.4%.

But aviation emissions rose by 2.8% to 12.77 million tonnes, the EPA added. 

Dr Maria Martin, EPA Senior Manager, said 2019 was the third year in a row to record a fall in greenhouse gas emissions from participants in the EU Emissions Trading System.

“This reflects a positive move to lower use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and an increase in renewables,” she said.

“Aside from power generation, the reductions have been more modest in other sectors and attributable to a small number of players, with an increase recorded from aviation,” Dr Martin stated.

“We need to see consistent reductions in emissions across all sectors to reach our goal of a low-carbon economy,” she added. 

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton welcomed today’s EPA figures, adding that emissions from the country’s largest energy users have fallen from a high of 20.3 tonnes of CO2 in 2008, to 14.1 tonnes last year.

“These results show that it is possible to break the link between economic progress and carbon emissions. Last year, the economy grew by 6% but our electricity and major industrial emissions fell by 8.7%. It is welcome progress, but we must do more,” Mr Bruton said. 

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