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Environment

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Power StationsIndustrialResidential and CommercialAgricultural, Forestry and FishingTransportOther
199064616722448230482841125
199593112471556431832711122
200012621689107372888277969
000000
20051074240297082661272261
2006951223293902585267563
2007717219090092493259462
2008663203695402498253760
2009499161898712398226656
2010457163893322311206647
2011382134286712273192038
2012435125784772309178841
2013376124390602294177545
2014385148277472290165040
2015439147875212295156339
  • Emissions of PM2.5 in Ireland declined steadily from 32,800 tonnes in 1990 to 13,300 tonnes in 2015.
  • The Residential and Commercial sector accounted for 56% of emissions of PM2.5 in 2015, with Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing accounting for 17% of the total. The other main sources of PM2.5 emissions were Transport and Industry which were responsible respectively for 12% and 11% of total emissions in 2015.
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% of 2010 Ceiling
Sulphur dioxide42
Nitrogen oxides94
Ammonia93.2
NMVOC's75.4
  • Ireland’s emissions of sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, ammonia and non-methane volatile organic compounds were all below the 2010 National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) levels in 2015. Sulphur dioxide was 42% of its NEC, NMVOC’s 75%, ammonia 93% and nitrogen oxides 94% in 2015.
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Ireland emissionsEU emissions
199016.021606461927912.0681101536315
199116.140325449070811.8164016868179
199216.004900131115611.4255109133401
199315.993977720955811.1887302205154
199416.300119083158611.1126127572291
199516.625314989124811.203928962566
199617.098852177276811.4151729830765
199717.334088743806811.1991508113178
199817.823781584588611.0605905572613
199917.94466188810810.8294928233216
200018.293958363012110.8439904290752
200118.557371177690810.9230641560405
200217.709392886931510.8112614829974
200317.49134367490110.9589887438419
200417.040609618277210.9255905865918
200517.029446548958210.8134934796645
200616.48873520379810.7626996323158
200715.787557909450910.6127738011244
200815.261867457144310.3522278733962
200913.86583575373839.56993081134111
201013.67766138251519.762617895944
201112.72042396952539.46448320004526
201212.79827535994589.30970965391058
201312.74666940823939.11065644987833
201412.63746776335078.71699598133922
  • Ireland’s emission of greenhouse gases  were 16 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita in 1990 and rose to 18.6 tonnes per capita in 2001, before falling to 12.6 tonnes per capita in 2014. The average for the EU has fallen steadily from 12.1 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita in 1990 to 8.7 tonnes per capita in 2014.
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Show Table: 4.1 Ireland: Greenhouse gas emissions by sector 1990-2015

  • Agriculture accounted for 33% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.
  • The transport share of greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland increased from 9% in 1990 to 20% in 2015. Energy Industries also contributed 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland peaked at 70 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2005. They fell to 57.6 million tonnes in 2011 before rising again. In 2015 greenhouse gas emissions stood at 59.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
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Total land cover
Finland73.1119813090263
Sweden68.4156654400117
Slovenia61.9662363455809
Lativa53.972338372467
Estonia49.3510513631238
Austria46.933947958998
Slovakia40.3326403326403
Spain36.9244186046512
EU 35.4992284121139
Portugal35.2567724779791
Bulgaria35.2155490051584
Lithuania34.7826086956522
Czech Republic34.544653957729
Croatia34.3459614010007
Luxemburg33.5135135135135
Germany32.7558016121167
Italy31.6073978377643
France31.0210714676989
Poland30.8111815034942
Greece30.2792862684251
Romania29.8278410572994
Belgium22.5708435167448
Hungary22.2397781503934
Cyprus18.6864315083315
Denmark14.4284704218713
United Kingdom12.9954945645435
Netherlands11.1407407407407
Ireland10.9449847583103
Malta0.9375
  • Forestry accounted for 10.9% of Ireland’s total land area in 2015, which was the second lowest level in the EU. In contrast, Finland had the highest share at 73.1% of total land cover. The EU average forest cover was 35.5% in 2015.
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Show Table: 4.2 Ireland: River water quality 1987-2015

  • The proportion of unpolluted river water in Ireland fell from 77.3% in the 1987-1990 period to 68.9% in 2013-2015. The percentage of slightly polluted river water increased from 12% to 20% between these two periods, while the proportion of moderately polluted water increased from 9.7% to 11%.
  • The level of seriously polluted river water fell from 0.9% in the 1987-1990 period to 0.05% in 2013-2015.
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Show Table: 4.3 Ireland: Nitrates in groundwater 1995-2014

  • The level of nitrates in groundwater in Ireland has been decreasing.
  • The proportion of samples with less than 5 mg/litre increased from 15% in 1995-1997 to 26% in 2013-2014. Similarly, the percentage of samples between 5 and 10 mg/litre increased from 16% to 21% over the same period.
  • In contrast, the proportion of samples between 37.5 and 50 mg/litre fell from 5% in 1995-1997 to 3% in 2013-2014. The percentage of samples with over 50 mg/litre fell from 3% to 1% in the same period.
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Show Table: 4.4 Ireland: Domestic building energy ratings 2009-2016

ABCDEF-G
1700-19770.05682379681786743.4741575254471818.184109101689925.007411799584920.218895147741933.0586026287183
1978-19990.01485839945321094.7190276663397838.889384168870736.415955939892813.43595534555686.52481847988668
2000-20040.0155811779370528.1932394088993158.339210444309623.6522281084457.20096439290812.59877646750094
2005-20090.51179051044590535.233709262651949.719313578835910.45851051313513.076625712220781.00005042271039
2010-201660.675228534574634.68678144803993.566821827154950.644944198306320.2579776793225280.168246312601649
  • Of the 17,831 dwellings built between 2010 and 2016 which had a building energy rating audit, 61% received an A rating. This contrasts with 1% of dwellings built between 2005 and 2009 with an A rating.
  • The energy rating for older homes tends to be lower, with 33% of audited dwellings built before 1978 having an energy rating of F or G.
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Show Table: 4.5 Ireland: Total primary energy requirement 1990-2015

  • Petroleum products are the main fuel in Ireland’s total primary energy requirement (TPER), accounting for 48% of the total kilotonnes of oil equivalent in 2015. This proportion has fallen from  58% in 2005.
  • The proportion accounted for by coal has fallen from 22% in 1990 to 10% in 2015. Similarly, the share of peat has fallen from 15% to 5% over this period. These fuels have been replaced by natural gas, which contributed 27% of TPER in 2015, and renewables which contributed 8% of TPER in 2015.
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Show Table: 4.6 Ireland: Contribution of renewable energy 1990-2015

  • The share of electricity generated by renewable energy in Ireland has grown from 5% in 1990 to 25% in 2015. The 2020 target is that 40% of electricity will be generated from renewable sources.
  • Renewable transport energy accounted for 6% of transport energy in 2015. The 2020 target is that 10% of transport energy will be generated by renewable energy.
  • Renewable heat accounted for 7% of all thermal energy in 2015. The 2020 target is that 12% of heating energy will be generated by renewable energy.
  • Renewable energy products accounted for 9% of gross final energy consumption Ireland in 2015 compared with 2% in 1990.
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Show Table: 4.7 Ireland:Imported energy dependency 1990-2015

OilGasCoalOther fuels
199071.1900576451901028.8679197505209-0.0579773957110064
199170.4048165899852029.6607622739901-0.0655788639753574
199271.3831519823492028.6820594519732-0.0652114343223875
199373.66670005611290.061233748116687226.3537211773141-0.0816549815437551
199478.39592291771750.036338738398142821.642288461061-0.0745501171766971
199574.58266818504051.1053656680055824.403197028797-0.0912308818431073
199673.27625985378675.7351881864401221.1881435916759-0.199591631902662
199770.86426695929438.9886731556676120.2169890139957-0.0699291289576687
199869.892136248638812.95946017800117.1560533879555-0.00764981459531189
199971.099418377451315.94208596426612.85136665195460.107129006328122
200066.267344874568320.067860125924713.66470608436678.89151403504762E-05
200165.046020019960821.402491499622513.7667054560752-0.215216975658539
200264.758514474935921.894724767902913.09309336064580.2536673965154
200363.522898263612323.376984575600112.44257669403980.657540466747797
200464.383329690261921.384736574686113.32923025231770.902703482734246
200565.588993994515420.433740935575112.85368412520791.12358094470165
200663.69784778425724.312605882311611.01161864952170.977927683909752
200762.163106080527327.01454809567619.914791450951980.907554372844566
200861.221569024236927.714378740559910.59419475529640.469857479906777
200959.330575461192430.1409336517569.633993907218120.894496979833503
201058.127839387094933.82087721121997.208215626452620.843067775232509
201156.794677006561331.196362427429411.09545816043520.913502405574129
201255.140200333077232.662259608773111.29482166173680.902718396412849
201355.429930109223530.183740293356911.96149666947042.42483292794915
201455.997928323541330.909690027082810.37639578153432.71598586784154
201558.20195167973228.763190884540311.64734096445811.38751647126965
  • Ireland’s imported energy dependency, expressed in kilotonnes of oil equivalent, has increased from 69% in 1990 to 88% in 2015.
  • Oil imports accounted for 71% of total fuel imports in 1990 and 58% in 2015. The share of gas in total fuel imports increased from zero in 1990 to 29% in 2015.
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Show Table: 4.8 Ireland: Private cars per 1,000 population aged 15 and over 1985-2016

Private cars
1985283.172766093307
1986282.637227234787
1987290.902807945974
1988295.423154243368
1999304.966876971609
1990312.157723513503
1991323.617268190786
1992327.20890345695
1993335.32553063375
1994349.44254242334
1995363.657193214364
1996382.182021903351
1997402.522442607245
1998417.431381438984
1999436.001854968912
2000445.466824244471
2001458.556810279167
2002468.608971454463
2003479.176522955615
2004494.419004185669
2005506.693391049872
2006528.181062383087
2007539.250508348369
2008538.727567961029
2009528.893244370309
2010520.646945981262
2011524.653993663498
2012524.314162372929
2013532.762034919395
2014540.864774624374
2015550.476956352948
2016557.719843715606
  • The number of private cars in Ireland was 283 per 1,000 of the population aged 15 years and over in 1985. This number grew every year until 2007 and 2008, when there were 539 cars per 1,000. The rate fell to 521 cars per 1,000 of the population aged 15 years or over in 2010 before recovering to 558 in 2016.
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Show Table: 4.9 Ireland: New private cars licensed by emission class 2005-2016

Band ABand BBands C and DBands E,F and G
20051.3989294520959911.050099236182148.612497744632237.4324893245925
20061.641917667495812.776370236563147.537700622716836.6837302984308
20071.511446496343116.096462595571947.53809044336533.7508436881065
20083.795999180719626.525568375776643.845156004642624.854236362395
200912.748015873015944.13029100529132.57642563198129.03696355085244
201035.084268670427645.244797248754516.35789746428452.99150835620149
201142.535545023696747.80403073666777.592140983757421.81291124096995
201253.771506504406238.17535669324385.840851867394042.12704574066303
201361.312160116611532.1802993776984.622414083085721.83326792622078
201467.792683058866826.84358116521043.852275311007891.47897922283215
201571.810750557344623.53150028899353.611592766906121.01395425646107
201678.081603032459418.11725415871093.001458455164830.772910780590569
  • On July 1st 2008, the basis for motor taxation charges changed from engine size to the emission rating of the vehicle.
  • The proportion of new private cars registered in Band A increased from 1% in 2005 to 78% in 2016, while the number of vehicles in Bands E, F and G fell from 37% to 1% over this period.
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Show Table: 4.10 Ireland: Municipal waste 2001-2012

Waste managedWaste sent to landfill
20012297.6031992.05
20022389.7691901.864
20032559.3871832.625
20042703.6031818.536
20052779.0971833.33
20063100.311980.618
20073174.5652014.797
20083103.821938.712
20092824.9771723.705
20102580.4351495.565
20112558.3451344.008
20122478.3371027.577
  • The amount of municipal waste sent to landfill varied between 1.8 and 2.0 million tonnes between 2001 and 2008. It has fallen sharply since then and in 2012 was almost half the 2007 level at just over 1 million tonnes.
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Show Table: 4.11 Ireland: Packaging waste 2001-2013

Recovery rate2001 target 2005 target2011 target
200125.3478853086834255060
200232.9641595996107255060
200341.6978456444334255060
200456.3560701412956255060
200559.9458940080262255060
200657.3198881447429255060
200763.604216858342255060
200864.6736965539138255060
200969.8800941970116255060
201073.7435076888878255060
201178.9351851851852255060
201286.5432098765432255060
201388.1609195402299255060
  • Ireland has substantially increased its rate of recovery of packaging waste such as cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, steel, aluminium and wood. The European Packaging Directive (94/62/EC) set targets for 2001, 2005 and 2011 which were all exceeded by Ireland.
  • In 2013 the recovery rate for packaging had reached 88%, up from 25% in 2001.
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Show Table: 4.12 Ireland: Domestic water supply sources 2002-2016

  • The proportion of households connected to public water mains has increased from 73% in 2002 to 77% in 2016.
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Show Table: 4.13 Ireland: Domestic waste water treatment 2002-2016

  • The proportion of households whose waste water treatment system is via an individual septic tank fell from 32% in 2002 to 26% in 2016. This was offset by an increase in individual treatments without a septic tank to 3% and an increase in connections to public schemes from 64% to 66%.
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Percentage of total land area
Slovenia38
Croatia37
Bulgaria34
Slovakia30
Cyprus29
Greece27
Spain27
Luxembourg27
Romania23
Hungary21
Portugal21
Poland20
Italy19
EU18
Estonia18
Germany 15
Austria15
Czech Republic14
Finland14
Belgium13
Ireland13
France13
Malta13
Netherlands13
Sweden13
Latvia12
Lithuania12
United Kingdom9
Denmark8
  • In 2015, Ireland had 13% of its land area designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive. This was the ninth smallest proportion of land area in the EU. The total designated area in the EU was 18% in 2015.
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Common birds
1998100
199997.891580146847
2000104.020533578016
2001104.290514309559
2002107.978340362422
2003100.612398643256
2004108.931384938657
2005108.400224643892
2006114.008472954986
2007112.887745074369
2008115.903837607665
2009108.272909445973
2010107.212046053169
2011110.252714789306
2012108.563326866584
2013106.986173871045
2014104.617233141562
  • The Irish index of common birds increased by 4.6% from 100 in 1998 to 104.6 in 2014.

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