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Irish farming under pressure to reduce carbon emissions

Staff Writer | June 13, 2018
Ways for Irish farmers to achieve major reductions in carbon emissions from agriculture, at a time of massive expansion, have been outlined in a report from Teagasc.
Irish farming
Ireland   Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are set to increase
With agricultural production likely to increase further, it will be “extremely challenging” for the sector to meet its emissions obligations, according to the State’s farm advisory agency.

The mitigation measures proposed by Teagasc include: genetic improvements to dairy and beef livestock, improved efficiency in nitrogen use by altering fertilisers applied to land, increased afforestation, improved sequestration (capturing carbon) in soils and enhanced production of biomass and biogas in a major shift away from fossil fuel use.

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are set to increase over the coming decade, unless significant mitigation efforts are adopted.

Agriculture emissions are counted with those from transport and buildings.

Together these sectors are collectively subject to legally binding targets, and if 2020 and 2030 targets are not met through domestic mitigation, the government would need to acquire credits, which are likely to be increasingly expensive over time.

Calculations from the Department of Finance and Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) suggest there will be a possible cost of €600 million per annum after 2020 if there is no change in policy.

Much of this is down to continued agricultural expansion, according to climate expert Joseph Curtin of the IIEA.