Greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), as reported in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, include activities associated with afforestation and forestry harvesting, grassland and cropland management with agricultural use, managed and unmanaged wetlands, and other land-use categories (including settlements). While such emissions are not currently accounted for in relation to the calculation of compliance with Ireland’s emissions targets in the period to 2020, from 2021 onwards these emissions will be integrated into the EU framework for compliance with national emissions targets. It is, therefore, essential that Ireland has robust policies in place to manage emissions and enhance removals from relevant LULUCF sectoral categories.
In relation to the report referred to, the need to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades will pose significant long-term challenges to our existing approach to land use. This is already anticipated in the 2014 National Policy Position which sets out a long-term vision of low carbon transition based, inter alia, on an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, including forestry, which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production.
Matters relating to land use policy concerning land under agricultural and forestry production are, in the first instance, a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.