Pathway to 25% Reduction in Agricultural Emissions

The government has agreed ceilings for emissions from each sector of the economy that deliver a pathway towards a 51% reduction by 2030. The ceiling for the agricultural sector will require a cut of 25% in its emissions by 2030, compared to 2018 levels.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, said, “the government has agreed a pathway to a 51% cut in economy wide emissions by 2030. The emissions ceiling for agriculture has been set at a level requiring a 25% reduction by 2030. This falls within the target range assigned to the sector under the Climate Action Plan 2021. I am pleased to have reached this conclusion as a way of offering certainty to our farm families and their businesses over the next decade.”

“The Programme for Government and the Climate Act committed us to strong climate action. The world is facing a climate crisis, so such action is absolutely essential. It also recognises the special economic and social role of agriculture, and the importance of sustainable food production. I am satisfied that the agreement we have arrived at today strikes an appropriate balance in this regard.”

The Minister added, “this target reflects a very challenging but achievable ambition for the sector. The protection and enhancement of our sustainable food production system, while ensuring that agriculture plays its part in climate change mitigation, has been a priority for this government. I am confident that farmers will embrace this challenge and, as Minister, I will stand full square behind our farmers on this journey to support them at every step.”

Minister Pippa Hackett said, “we will be supporting farmers through initiatives such as a new forestry programme and improved incentives to engage in Organic farming and invest in renewable energy technology. The government will also be assisting in the development of biomethane from Anaerobic Digestion (AD), which will provide opportunity for farmers who wish to consider additional income sources while also contributing significantly to decarbonising the energy system. I am confident that we can meet our climate action targets by working together in a solutions focused way.”

Minister Martin Heydon noted the need to look to research developments to form part of the solution to addressing emissions from the sector, “solutions are in development, we are seeing great progress in relation to feed additives, particularly the 3NOP additive which is under research at Teagasc. This additive was designed for continual feeding in indoor systems, the challenge now is to develop options for our pasture-based animals. We will continue to invest heavily in research to support our farmers to produce food even more efficiently into the future as well as delivering for the environment and farm incomes.”

Minister McConalogue stressed the need for clear guidance to farmers on the implications of this decision, “my priority now is to work with stakeholders on supporting and delivering these targets. Our Ag-Climatise roadmap updated as soon as possible, which will incorporate new recommendations from the Food Vision Dairy and Beef committees. The sector needs a clear roadmap going forward and my ambition is to progress this process this autumn. I have already configured our supports, such as the CAP strategic plan and support in areas such as for Low Emissions equipment and for on-farm energy production towards achieving these targets. This will continue and farmers will be supported in their ambition.”

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