Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 11:57 UK

NI greenhouse gas emissions fall

power station
The report says greenhouse gas emissions have fallen since 1990

Greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Ireland have fallen by 13% since 1990, according to a new report.

AEA Technology's 'Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report', also shows that carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 9% in the same period.

It said the main reasons were falls in emissions from electricity supply, waste management, agriculture and domestic use.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots welcomed the news.

"These falling figures are evidence that we are all becoming more environmentally aware and I wish to commend everyone who has played their part in helping to continue the downward trend in these harmful emissions.

"Targets on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions set by the Executive are also now well on track to be met," he said.

However, the Green Party said the Northern Ireland reduction was less than the other three UK regions.

"Since 1990 we have only seen a drop of 9% in carbon dioxide emissions, which compares badly, considering we need to achieve 80% reduction by 2050," the party's Brian Wilson said.

"I think Minister Poots needs to set targets for the next five years, only then can we truly measure our reduction successes."

The report is compiled annually on behalf of the UK government's Department of Environment and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Six greenhouse gases are reported on: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride.

Emissions of all the gases, except sulphur hexafluoride, fell in Northern Ireland in the period 1990 - 2007.

Gas

The report points to changes in power generation as one of the most important factors in the reductions.

In 1996, the largest power station in Northern Ireland, Ballylumford, was converted from oil to use natural gas, which is less polluting.

Natural gas also has been supplied to some industrial, commercial and domestic users since 1999 and gas use continues to grow as the infrastructure is developed.

Emissions from road transport represent 30% of the 2007 Northern Ireland carbon dioxide total, with emissions having risen by 49% since 1990, compared with an 11% increase for the UK over the same period.

Emissions from agriculture represent 21% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Ireland in 2007, a significantly higher proportion than the UK average (7%).

This is because there are fewer industrial and energy related emission sources in Northern Ireland than there are elsewhere in the UK, and hence, agriculture emissions are comparatively more important

Detail of the methodology used to estimate the emissions can be found at the AEA's website.



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