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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Environmental Accounts Air Emissions


Table A: Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector
Million tonnes CO2 equivalent Change% change
NACE Sector20152016201720182019 2019/20182019/2018
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing20.120.621.322.121.3 -0.9-4%
Industry20.221.320.819.818.4 -1.3-7%
Services16.619.822.223.624.0 0.42%
Households13.313.313.113.513.0 -0.5-4%
Total Residence Principle Emissions70.175.077.479.076.7 -2.3-3%
+ Non-resident Activity in Ireland1. 0.221%
- Irish Resident Activity Abroad11.514.116.117.418.0 0.64%
Total Territorial Principle Emissions60.462.562.162.559.8 -2.7-4%

Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Resident Units decreased 3% in 2019

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  • Greenhouse gas emissions by resident units fell 3% to 76.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2018 to 2019 (see Table A)
  • Territorial greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4% to 59.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2018 to 2019 (see Table A)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from Industry fell 7% in 2019; emissions from Services increased 2% (see Table A and Figure 1)
  • Emissions of all air pollutants fell in 2019 (see Tables 6-12)

Residence Principle and Territorial Principle

National accounts record the economic activities of resident units of Ireland while air emissions accounts record greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions by resident units. Residence principle emissions can therefore be directly related to the economic indicators recorded in national accounts.

Territorial emissions are emissions produced on the territory of Ireland. They are reported annually by the Environmental Protection Agency and are used to determine whether Ireland has met its legally binding emissions targets.

Residence principle emissions are obtained by removing transport emissions emitted by non-resident units on the territory of Ireland from total territorial principle emissions, and by adding transport emissions emitted by Irish resident units abroad.

Non-resident emissions include road transport emissions from fuel sales to owners of non-Irish registered vehicles. Resident emissions abroad include carbon dioxide emissions from flights by Irish airlines originating in countries other than Ireland. See Table 13 and the Background Notes for further information.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions by NACE Sector

The Services sector, which includes road and air transport, produced 31% of greenhouse gas emissions by resident units in 2019. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector produced 28% of emissions, while the Industry sector accounted for 24% of the total. The remaining 17% of greenhouse gas emissions were emitted by Households.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

Greenhouse gas emissions from Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing were at their highest of the period 2013-2019 in 2018 at 22.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Emissions from the sector increased in each year from 2015 to 2018 inclusive, then fell by 4% in 2019. The trend can be observed in Figure 1 and Table 1.


The Industry sector showed a decrease of 7% in emissions in 2019, when emissions fell to 18.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This was the lowest of the period 2013-2019. Having risen in 2014, 2015 and 2016, emissions from Industry fell in 2017, 2018 and 2019, largely due to falling emissions from the energy supply sector, NACE 35 (see Figure 1 and Table 1).


The Services sector includes air and road transport services, and is therefore strongly affected by the residence principle adjustment. Carbon dioxide emissions from Irish airlines operating abroad have a large impact on the level of emissions attributed to the Services sector. Greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest of the period 2013-2019 in 2019, at 24.0 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Emissions from this sector rose in each year from 2013 to 2019 inclusive (see Figure 1 and Table 1).


Emissions from Households were 13.0 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019, a decrease of 4% on 2018 and almost exactly equal to emissions in 2014 which were the lowest of the period 2013-2019 (see Figure 1 and Table 1). Household emissions are mainly due to transport and heating. In 2019 emissions from the Household sector fell due to a decrease in emissions from household heating.