Agriculture NI's biggest greenhouse gas emitting sector
Author: Louise Cullen
Agriculture remains Northern Ireland's highest-emitting sector, new figures from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs show. The latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory details emissions in 2020. It says agriculture is the only sector to have shown an increase since the base year of 1990, with all other sectors reducing their emissions. Overall, Northern Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 24% between 1990 and 2020. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which include carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat from escaping into space. The emissions estimates in this report cover seven greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride. Agriculture was responsible for 28% of local emissions in 2020. Compared to the base year of 1990, that is a rise of 7%. The other largest sectors - transport, residential, energy supply, business, and land use, land use change and forestry - have shown a decrease in that time. Based on the projections released on Thursday, agriculture is expected to see a decrease of just 1% between 2020 and 2031. But its share of emissions is projected to rise to 32% by 2031, as "other sectors reduce emissions at a faster rate". The inventory estimated 2020 emissions to be 21m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This was a 24% decrease on the 28 MtCO2e emitted in the 1990 base year.