THE AMOUNT of greenhouse gas produced by Ireland’s largest emitters fell by almost one million tonnes last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.
The reduction continues a downward trend in recorded Irish emissions since the European Union-wide Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) started in 2005.
The scheme was introduced to tackle emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to combat climate change.
Under the scheme, high emitters are given a quota in the form of tonnes of emissions of CO2 gases each year. Companies covered under ETS include power com-panies and glass and steel manufacturers. Verified greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland have fallen from 22.43 million tonnes in 2005 to 20.38 million tonnes last year, the EPA said. Some 21.25 million tonnes were emitted in 2007.
EPA director general Dr Mary Kelly welcomed the development and attributed the reduction to the economic downturn and the impact of the scheme.
“The results released by the EPA show how the Emissions Trading Scheme has been successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
“While no doubt some of the reduction reflects the economic downturn which began to have significant impact during 2008, nonetheless the overall picture is one of progressive annual emission reductions.”