Irish farmers were asked to reduce their emissions by 25% by 2030

On Thursday, Irish farmers were told to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter by 2030.

The target is part of the government’s “climate action plan” after parliament passed legislation committing Ireland to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 at the latest. is.

After the coalition reached an agreement on sectoral emissions caps on Thursday, the electricity sector was told to cut emissions by 75% by 2030 compared to 2018 figures. The transport sector needs to cut its emissions by half, public and commercial buildings by 45%, residential buildings by 40%, industry by 35% and other sectors by half.

A reduction target for agriculture was set at 25%, but the government said the farming change would be “voluntary” and farmers pledged “generous financial incentives” and “additional financial packages in the 2023 budget”. He said it was.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA), the country’s largest agricultural representative body, said the coalition deal between the three ruling parties “is all about the survival of the government rather than the survival of rural Ireland.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said the announced targets “could be devastating to Ireland’s agriculture and rural economy”.

“The government has agreed to targets without a road map to get there or a budget to help farmers cut emissions. We have no idea of ​​the economic and social impact it will have.Farmers across the country will be rightfully concerned about what this means for their future,” Cullinan said in a statement.

“Action plans to reach the goals will be important. To reach these goals, I would like to make it clear that any attempt to undermine the livelihoods of farmers or the viability of the sector will be strongly opposed by the IFA.” I think,” he said.

Cullinan called on the government to “provide genuine proposals and adequate funding to support climate action.”

He also “strongly believes” that the IFA is not complying with its own climate law, which requires governments to consider the risk of carbon leakage and the properties of biogenic methane before implementing climate action. said.

Carbon leakage in this case refers to a scenario in which foreign beef and dairy importers look to another country with inefficient farming to supply, thereby increasing global emissions. point.

Miles Allen, an Oxford researcher, last year proposed a new metric to measure emissions, suggesting that given the short-lived nature of biogenic methane in the atmosphere, the amount of warming that has been advertised. He claimed it had no effect.

Epoch Times Photo
A herd of cows graze in County Laish, Ireland, May 7, 2022. (Lily Zhou/The Epoch Times)

In 2018, Ireland’s agricultural emissions amounted to about 22.3 megatonnes of CO2, equivalent to 35.2 of Ireland’s total emissions and less than 0.07% of global emissions that year. Most emissions are biomethane from cattle, but some are due to manure use.

In 2020, according to official figures, the agro-food sector accounted for about 7% of the adjusted gross national income, 10% of the value of exports (€14 billion) and 7.1% of total employment (164,400 jobs) .

The government’s Climate Action Plan, released last year, proposed a 22-30% reduction target for agriculture. Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan, Environment Minister, initially advocated a target of 30%, but Fianna Foyle’s Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConnalogue, has been criticized by local legislators and farmers for resisting anything higher than 22%. pressured.

Reportedly (pdf) KPMG Ireland estimates that, based on last year’s technology, a 30% reduction in emissions would require a 20% reduction in cattle herds. sheep, pigs, poultry.

Regulations that effectively curtail agriculture have recently sparked mass protests in the Netherlands and led to Sri Lanka’s economic collapse.

A final round of carbon emissions targets was pledged by governments at last year’s COP26 climate summit. Many climate scientists predict that increased emissions will lead to more severe weather events such as storms and droughts, but historically, the more catastrophic predictions have not materialized.

Critics say a “decarbonization” agenda would reduce living standards without making meaningful changes to the climate. For one thing, China and India, the world’s largest carbon emitters, have no intention of limiting their economies to carbon cuts.

Petr Svab contributed to this report.

Lily Chow


Lily Zhou is a freelance writer who mainly covers the British news of The Epoch Times.