Agriculture was the largest emitting sector of Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2021, statistics released by Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today (Tuesday, June 20) show.

According to the Northern Ireland Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2021 report, agriculture was responsible for 27.6% of emissions in 2021.

Just after agriculture was the transport sector, which contributed 16.7% to overall emissions, whilst the business, energy supply and residential sectors contributed 14.0%, 13.7% and 12.4% respectively.   

The report highlighted that between 2020 and 2021, all sectors, with the exception of waste management and public, showed an increase in emissions.

The largest increases in terms of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent was in the transport sector with 0.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e)

Between 2020 -2021, the agriculture sector saw the second-largest increases of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent with 0.3 MtCO2e with the energy supply following with 0.2 MtCO2e sectors.

According to the latest research, in 2021, Northern Ireland contributed 5.3% of all UK GHG emissions, which stood at 426.5 MtCO2e. It said that in the UK there has been a 47.7% reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2021.

The report revealed that during the same period, the reduction in emissions in Northern Ireland was 23.2%, compared to 50.2% in England, 49.3% in Scotland and 35.0% in Wales.

GHG emissions in NI

The report produced by Ricardo Energy and Environment on behalf of DAERA is said to be a “a statistical bulletin on greenhouse gas emissions for Northern Ireland, during the period 1990-2021”.

Its purpose is to “outline” key Northern Ireland figures from the Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

According to the report, in 2021 Northern Ireland’s net GHG emissions were estimated to be 22.5 million tonnes of MtCO2e.

It states that the net figure is a result of an estimated “23.7 MtCO2e total emissions, offset by 1.2 MtCO2e of emissions removed through sequestration”.

The latest figures suggests that the net figure of 22.5 MtCO2e, in 2021, represents an increase of 5.0% compared with 2020. The longer-term trend showed a decrease of 23.2% compared with emissions in 1990.