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The driving forces of change in energy-related CO₂ emissions in Ireland: A multi-sectoral decomposition from 1990 to 2007

O’ Mahony, Tadhg, Zhou, Peng, Sweeney, John
Energy policy 2012 v.44 pp. 256-267
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, carbon, carbon dioxide, economic development, electricity, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, issues and policy, renewable energy sources, Ireland
Ireland recorded significant growth in energy-related carbon emissions from 1990 to 2007 as the country underwent rapid economic development. Using the LMDI decomposition analysis method, this paper aims to identify and analyse the driving forces of CO₂ emissions in eleven final energy consuming sectors. This multi-sectoral analysis is based on four economic sectors, the residential sector and gives a detailed representation of transport in keeping with UNFCCC recommendations. Scale, structure and intensity effects are explored and substantial heterogeneity in sectoral performance is observed. Scale growth in economic and transport activity was considerable. Some improvements in energy intensity were recorded in the economic sectors. In transport, increases in intensity contributed to a significant increase in emissions, while energy intensity decreased in the residential sector. The declining emissions coefficient of electricity was important in limiting emissions but renewable energy has been slow to penetrate the demand side. The results have relevance in considering development paths and can aid in identifying policy measures required to address the key driving forces of emissions in the sectors. The rapid increase in transport emissions in particular raises concerns of future lock-in to a higher emissions trajectory.