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Climate Change Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 8 December 2020

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Questions (66)

Darren O'Rourke


66. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which he plans to address the challenge of climate change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41613/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The issue of climate change is one of the foremost challenges facing us all globally. Given the nature of the Irish economy, the importance of agriculture, coupled with the lack of heavy industry in comparison with some other EU Member States, agriculture is responsible for approximately 34% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Clearly, primary agriculture will need to step up and play its part in reducing absolute emission over the years ahead in line with EU and national targets, However it is critical to note that farmers have already made great strides in this regard and have shown a willingness to meet all our climate ambitions.

The Deputy's question is timely, as I am publishing a climate and air roadmap for the primary agriculture sector shortly. This roadmap will set a out a series of actions that farmers can start to implement on their farms to reduce overall emissions. We need to start seeing changes now. The roadmap will be very much based on the measures contained in the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for greenhouse gases which was published in 2018.

I want to continue to invest heavily in research and innovation in climate smart agriculture. By investing in research now, we can develop innovative solutions to further reduce the climate footprint of our sector in medium to long term.

Finally, I see the issue of carbon sequestration as an opportunity for Irish farmers. No other sector will have the ability to offset carbon emissions to the same extent as agriculture. Recently, I provided funding to Teagasc to establish a National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory. This observatory will facilitate the intensive monitoring of carbon emissions and removals across a range of Irish soils, putting Ireland at the forefront internationally in terms of understanding, supporting and rewarding farmers for practices that build carbon stores in our soils.