Agriculture sector not following the bandwagon when it comes to reducing emissions – EPA

According to the EPA, the agricultural sector “talks” but does not “walk” when it comes to meeting emissions targets.

culminating on RTÉ radio this morning, EPA chief executive Laura Burke said the sector badly needed ‘a transformation’.

“We are particularly concerned when looking at the agricultural sector in our report, as there is a 30% reduction, or up to 30%, in the required methane reduction.

“And the question is how do we do that, how do we move, change and transform our agricultural sector so that we have a thriving rural economy, but also that we can live up to that clean, green image of Ireland. And when we sell our products around the world, we can truly live up to those environmental credentials.

“So I think right now we’re talking about the conversation, but we’re not walking and we have to move from those ideas to the implementation on the ground.”

She said the EPA “has made it clear” that herds, and especially dairy herds, cannot continue to increase in size and that it is not sustainable.

“What we’re seeing is a continued increase and a projected continued increase.

“So rather than getting into a herd size debate that becomes a pretty simplistic debate, I think we really need to talk about how you are transforming farming. How are you using science to transform farming , how you use technologies and how you use research, because what we want is a vibrant rural area, but it has to be done in a sustainable way.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said farmers are rising to the emissions challenge and technologies are coming to market that will make a real difference.

“Farmers are changing their management practices to optimize efficiency and using available technologies to reduce emissions, which will lead to significant reductions in years to come.

“The reality is that reducing food production in Ireland will lead to increased production in other countries with higher carbon footprints, leading to carbon leakage.

“We cannot look at Irish climate policy in isolation. The government must consider the risk of carbon leakage and the importance of agriculture to our economy. The climate law obliges the government to take these two elements into account in its decision-making. »

The EPA today released its greenhouse gas emissions projections for the period 2021-2040.

It shows that Ireland’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are falling far short of the target, with the latest data expected to show an annual increase in emissions of 6%.

The figure is the provisional calculation for 2021 when the target for the year was a 4.8% reduction.

A reduction of 4.8% is also required this year, but instead a further increase, or at best a stabilization, is expected.

Serious doubts now hang over the government’s promise to cut emissions by 51% by 2030, which is a legally binding target enshrined in climate law.

Emissions experts say the current best hope is a reduction of just 28% by 2030 and that only if all the measures of the very ambitious 2021 Climate Action Plan are fully implemented.

Lana T. Arthur