Greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with LULUCF are reported in Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions inventory, prepared by the Environmental Protections Agency, EPA, and submitted annually to the EU and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. LULUCF includes activities associated with forestry, croplands, grasslands, wetlands, settlements and other lands.
The programme for Government recognises that the next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate crisis. It commits to a 51% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions over the decade and to achieving a climate neutral economy no later than 2050.
These commitments have since been placed on a statutory footing through the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021. The climate Act provides for carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings to be put in place which will determine how each sector of the economy will contribute to the achievement of the carbon budgets, including the land use, land use change and forestry, LULUCF, sector.
Ireland is currently a net emitter of greenhouse gasses from the LULUCF sector to the order of 4.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, MTCO2e, per year. All the LULUCF categories have potential to be managed as net sinks for greenhouse gasses. It is important that we fully account for our actual emissions and removals from LULUCF in order to ensure policy is designed consistent with our objective to reach a climate neutral economy by 2050.
The climate action plan, which will be published shortly, will set out a range of LULUCF policies and measures which we will need to continue, modify and enhance over the coming decades to realise our climate ambition.
The programme for Government commitment for a national land use review is under way and it will consider options on how we might improve the management our land to meet not only the climate challenge but the biodiversity, water resource and socioeconomic challenges too. The first phase, the evidential review, is currently under preparation. This is overseen by a steering group co-chaired by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.