Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (508)

Thomas Pringle


508. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his emissions budget for methane and nitrous oxide for 2020 to 2030; the emission budget cumulatively for the same period; the specific emissions reduction measures he plans to implement; and the planned reduction amount of each in order to meet emissions reduction obligations under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation. [37594/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The All-of Government Climate Action Plan to tackle climate breakdown sets out a target for emissions from the sector in 2030 to be between 17.5 and 19 Mt CO2 eq. by achieving between 16.5 and 18.5 Mt CO2 eq. cumulative abatement over the period 2021 to 2030 for the agriculture sector. In addition, the sector will also deliver an additional 26.8 Mt CO2 eq. through better land use management such as afforestation and improved management of peaty grasslands. 

The plan identifies 34 actions for the sector that will contribute to our transition to a low carbon economy and society across abatement measures, carbon sequestration measures and displacement of fossil fuels and reflects our three-pillar policy approach to achieving carbon neutrality without comprising sustainable food production of:

1. Reducing agricultural emissions;

2. Increasing carbon sequestration; and

3. Displacing and substituting fossil fuel and energy intensive materials.

The actions in this plan are informed by the recent Teagasc Marginal Cost Abatement Curve report (MACC) - An Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030 as an identifiable suite of actions for delivery. These actions include both efficiency measures such as the Dairy EBI programme and technical measures such as changes in fertiliser type or low emissions slurry spreading as well as a series of forestry and bioeceonomy measures. In order to achieve our 2030 emissions reduction target without impacting our current national herd, the agriculture sector will need to achieve the full abatement potential of all actions identified in the Teagasc report. This will require early adoption and high levels of take-up of all measures across all our 139,000 farms.

Through a combination of these measures the agri-food sector will contribute significantly to the national ambition of transitioning to a low-carbon economy and society. Co-operation, collaboration and collective responsibility is necessary, and I can assure you that the sector can and will play its part.