Despite an expanding renewables energy sector, total energy related emissions of carbon dioxide in the Irish Republic rose last year by almost four per cent compared with the previous year. In the UK emissions fell by just under three per cent. There is no separate figure for Northern Ireland.
Across the EU as a whole the EU statistics agency Eurostat estimates that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion increased by 0.7% compared with the previous year. The agency points out that CO2 emissions are a major contributor to global warming and account for around 80% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions. "They are influenced by factors such as climate conditions, economic growth, size of the population, transport and industrial activities. Various EU energy efficiency initiatives aim to reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases."
Eurostat has provided some important context for the interpretation of its figures. It points out that imports and exports of energy products have an impact on CO2 emissions in the country where fossil fuels are burned: "for example if coal is imported this leads to an increase in emissions, while if electricity is imported, it has no direct effect on emissions in the importing country, as these would be reported in the exporting country where it is produced."