Given the constant talk about and the seemingly endless addition of regulation covering the environment here, you might be forgiven for thinking that Ireland was a laggard when it came to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the European Union.

In fact, according to an EU document published this week, Ireland is close to top of the class when it comes to both GHG emissions measured in grammes per euro of value added and in terms of improvement between 2018 and 2021 (see Figure 1).

At 135g/€, Ireland is only behind Sweden and Luxembourg and well ahead of the EU average of 221g/€.

It is on the improvement made across the three-year period that Ireland really shines, with a 37% reduction in emissions, progress only bettered by Estonia and which is more than twice the pace of the EU average of 17%.

In calculating GHG emissions for this data, the EU did not just rely on straight CO2 emissions, but also included CO2 equivalents for methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbon, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride.

The document also had a measure of pollution, which is based on fine particulate matter emitted and Ireland was in the top five here too.

The only place that Ireland performed badly was in the circular material use, where recycled materials replace new raw materials.

The document said that the results here suggest that the liner model (no reuse of materials) still prevails both in Ireland and across the EU.

The new deposit scheme for bottles and cans is designed to help Ireland improve its score here.