Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, spoke at the United States Chamber of Commerce hosted event “Reducing Methane from Food and Agriculture” at COP28 about how Ireland has focused on methane mitigation.
The Minister said, “Ireland has set a target to achieve a 51% reduction in overall GHG emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions no later than 2050. For the agriculture sector, there is a requirement to find viable pathways to reduce both nitrous oxide and methane emissions. Addressing methane, given its contribution to global warming, is of particular importance.”
The Minister spoke at this event and participated in a panel along with Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young (Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and USDA’s Chief Scientist). The Minister set out that methane makes up 73% of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and emphasised Ireland’s leading role in advancing technologies to mitigate these emissions. In particular, the Minister focused on Ireland’s achievements and world first in the ability to genetically select bovine animals that are lower emitters of methane without affecting production.
The Minister said, “investment and support for agriculture and climate research is a priority for my Department, reflected in the fact that we account for one fifth of the total public research support in climate science in Ireland. Over the last ten years, the proportion of our annual total research budget devoted to climate science in agriculture has risen from 3% to 43%. This investment in research is translating into implementable solutions for farmers. For example, feed additives have proven that up to 30% of methane from enteric fermentation can be mitigated through their use, and we are continuing to invest in advancing this technology for incorporation into Ireland’s pasture-based system of production.”
The Minister also set out Ireland’s involvement in joint research on methane with New Zealand and also Ireland’s participation in the United States and United Arab Emirates led “AIM for Climate” collaborative research initiative. Partnering on research brings together experts to tackle complex problems and devise collective approaches that can enhance the pace of advancing new technologies to mitigate Methane from Agriculture and Food.
Ireland is a world leader in sustainable foods systems from farm to fork and the Minister used the opportunity to showcase our story as a model for other food producing countries. This builds on consistent engagement by the Minister and his Department at other UN and FAO forums where sustainable food is discussed.
The Minister concluded about methane mitigation at COP28, “I believe that by harnessing the power of science, innovation and technology, we can create a future where food security is ensured, ecosystems are preserved, and the well-being of current and future generations is safeguarded.”