According to the EPA, the agricultural sector is “speaking the talk” but not “the walking” when it comes to meeting emissions targets.
EPA director-general Laura Burke said on RTÉ radio this morning that the sector really needs “a transformation”.
“We are particularly concerned when we look at the agricultural sector in our report because a 30 percent or up to 30 percent reduction in methane reduction is required.
“And the question is how do we do that, how do we move and change and transform our farming 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 all over the world, we really can stand up to these environmental standards.
“So I think we’re talking at the moment, but we’re not going that route and we need to move from those ideas to actual implementation on the ground.”
She said the EPA had “clearly said” that herds, and particularly dairy herds, could not continue to increase in size and that it was not sustainable.
“What we are seeing is a steady increase and a projected further increase.
“So instead of getting into a debate about herd size, which is becoming a pretty simplistic debate, I think we should really be talking about how you’re changing farming. How you use the science to transform agriculture, how you use the technology and how you use the research, because what we want is a vibrant countryside, but it has to be done in a sustainable way.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said farmers are tackling the emissions challenge and technology is coming to market that will make a real difference.
“Farmers are changing management practices to optimize efficiency and using available technologies to reduce emissions, which will result in significant reductions in the years to come.
“The reality is that reducing food production in Ireland will lead to increased production in other countries with a higher carbon footprint, leading to carbon leakage.
“We cannot look at Irish climate policy in isolation. Government must consider the risk of carbon leakage and the importance of agriculture to our economy. The climate law requires the government to include both 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 far from there, with the latest data predicting a 6 per cent annual increase in emissions.
The number is the preliminary calculation for 2021, when the target for the year was a 4.8 percent reduction.
A reduction of 4.8 percent is also required this year, instead a further increase or at best stabilization is expected.
Serious doubts now exist about the government’s pledge to cut emissions by 51 percent by 2030, which is a legally binding target enshrined in the climate law.
Emissions experts say the best hope right now is a reduction of just 28 percent by 2030, and only if all measures of the very ambitious 2021 climate plan are fully implemented.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/agricultural-sector-not-walking-the-walk-when-it-comes-to-reducing-emissions-epa-41710954.html The agricultural sector is not keeping up with the times when it comes to reducing emissions – EPA