Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture fell by 4.6% in 2023, down from 21.8 million tonnes (Mt) CO2eq in 2022 to 20.8Mt CO2eq 2023, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures show.

The most significant driver for the reduction in emissions in 2023 was the decrease in use of nitrogen fertiliser of 18%, the EPA said.

The use of lime also fell by 26.6%, along with a 2.1% reduction in methane from livestock - in combination representing a drop of 0.46Mt CO2eq.

Livestock numbers decreased in general - non-dairy cattle by 1.1%, sheep by 1.2% and pigs by 4.3%.

While dairy cow numbers saw an increase of 0.6%, total milk production decreased by 4.7% in 2023.


Methane emissions originate from enteric fermentation, manure management and fuel combustion. In 2023, methane emissions contributed 72.1% to the agriculture sector and have decreased by 2.1% since 2022.

Last year, nitrous oxide emissions also decreased 9.2% from 2022, reflecting the reduction in fertiliser use.

Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions which originate from liming, urea application and fuel combustion decreased by 14.6% since 2022.

Total fossil fuel consumption in agriculture, forestry and fishing activities in 2023 decreased by 7.5%.

Reductions evident

The EPA published its provisional greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland for 2023 on Tuesday 9 July.

Overall, Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 6.8% (4.0Mt CO2eq) in 2023, with reductions evident in almost all sectors.

The emissions data shows the largest single-year reductions in the energy and agriculture sectors and the lowest level of residential emissions since 1990, while transport emissions were below pre-COVID levels.

Emissions per capita decreased from 11.4t CO2eq/person to 10.4t CO2eq/person in 2023, the EPA found.