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As the agriculture sector continues to develop and grow it is important
to ensure that it does so within a framework of sustainability that also
allows us to deal with future changes in our climate. The Department
of Agriculture sets out its focus on this topic.
20
DECEMBER 2019
SUSTAINABILITY
Focus
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Reducing emissions, termed 'mitigation', is a critical
element in addressing climate change but the process
of building resilience and adapting to the changes we
are expecting to see in our climate, termed `adaptation',
is equally important. With increases in average annual
temperatures, signifi cant decreases in spring and
summer rainfall and heavier rainfall events in winter and
autumn months projected towards 2050, it is essential
we begin to take the necessary steps to build a strong
and resilient sector. The latest EPA fi gures indicate that
total annual national emissions are 60.51 Mt CO
2
eq and
the agriculture sector contributes 20.6 Mt CO
2
eq of this
in eff ect 34% of national emissions. Furthermore, EPA
projections indicate that the total national emissions
out to 2030 will increase by 6% unless we take steps to
change the way we do things. The All-of-Government
`Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown' seeks
to address the gap between our projected emissions and
our commitments (equating to 101 Mt CO
2
eq or over 1.5
times our average emissions for one year) and outlines the
role that various sectors, including agriculture and forestry
can play in bridging this gap. It sets out over 180 actions
to meet Ireland's EU targets for 2030 (i.e. 30% reduction
on GHG emissions based on 2005 levels) and sets an
ambition of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
while acknowledging the national policy position of an
approach to carbon neutrality within the agriculture and
land-use sector. For the agriculture, forestry and land use
sector there are 34 key actions with over 120 sub-actions.
The Plan sets ambitious targets for the agriculture, forestry
and land use sector as follows:
Emissions from the sector in 2030 to be between 17.5
19.0 Mt CO
2
eq by achieving between 16.5 -18.5 Mt CO
2
eq
cumulative abatement over the period 2021 2030. This is
a 10-15% reduction.
Achieve 26.8 Mt CO
2
eq emission removal termed
Sustainability in
agriculture
- a priority