Northern Ireland depends heavily on imported energy. This is a vulnerable position to be in as we are at the mercy of any price variations and also at the end of the distribution line should an oil shortage occur. In addition to the challenges presented by oil shortages, burning fossil fuels to create energy also creates its own challenges. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2, a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere which ultimately contributes to global warming, the effects of which we have witnessed with increased rainfall.
The main sources of greenhouse gases are Transport (23%); Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use (22%); Power (22%); and Homes and Communities (19%). Although there has been a reduction of almost 15% since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions have increased in the last few years and are up almost 4% since 2009. This increase is mostly attributable to consecutive cold winters and an increase in fossil fuel use as a consequence. The Programme for Government sets a target of a reduction of 35% in greenhouse gas source emissions by 2025 from 1990.