Greenhouse gas emissions from the country’s most energy-intensive industries increased by 15 percent last year.
The 105 factories, plants and facilities combined produced 15.3 million tons of carbon and other greenhouse gases, two million more than in 2020 and about a quarter of the total national emissions.
These include power generation stations, cement plants, manufacturing plants, pharmaceutical companies, large dairy processors, data centers and airlines.
The figures were released on Friday by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which regulates emissions allowances for around 11,000 individual installations across the EU.
The average EU-wide increase was 9.1 percent.
Laura Burke, director of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the increase in Ireland was undesirable given the urgent need to reduce emissions.
“The increase we are seeing for 2021 is disappointing and a reminder of the need for policies and decisions that support sustainable reductions in emissions from power generation and industrial emissions,” she said.
“The challenges in the energy generation sector are currently the focus.
“We must ensure that we make decisions now that recognize the urgency of the climate change challenge and lead to emission reductions.”
The increase was partly due to a return to higher levels of activity as Covid disruptions eased in 2021 compared to 2020, and partly to increased use of coal and older gas-fired power plants to generate electricity.
Two newer, more efficient gas-fired power stations were out of action for extended periods last year for repairs, and production at the Moneypoint coal-fired power station was increased to compensate.
Prolonged calm weather also meant renewable energy winds were lighter than usual.
Even with these explanations, emissions from the ETS sector last year were higher than in 2019 before Covid or any disruption in power generation.
The power generation sector saw the highest increase at 21 percent, while cement plants saw the second-highest increase at 17 percent.
Emissions from aviation rose 11 percent, driven by a return to flights after the vast majority remained grounded in 2020.
Industrial emissions rose 7 percent overall, but within this group, some sectors outperformed others. Emissions from the pharmaceutical industry increased by 3%.
The government has set a legally binding target to cut national emissions by half this decade.
https://www.independent.ie/news/greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-industry-jump-15pc-in-a-year-41512320.html Greenhouse gas emissions from industry increase by 15 percent in one year