My Department is actively engaged as part of the whole of Government approach to transitioning to a low-carbon, competitive, sustainable and climate resilient economy and society.
The National Mitigation Plan (NMP) has identified a series of mitigation actions and measures for the agriculture and land use sector including forestry including timelines for delivery. These measures not only focus on the mitigation of greenhouse gases and improving resource efficiency but are also aimed at restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to building resilience of agricultural production systems (i.e. adaptation).
The long term vision for the agricultural sector is an approach to carbon neutrality which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production. Our policy approach is based on three principles:
i. reducing agricultural emissions ;
ii. increasing carbon sequestration; and
iii. displacing and substituting fossil fuel and energy intensive materials.
There are a significant number of measures already in place which support these principles. However, I am not complacent on this important issue and my Department continues to review and develop new measures that will realise the ambition for the sector.
An All-of-Government Plan to tackle climate disruption, which my colleague the Minister for Communication, Climate Action and Energy is currently leading on, will build on the National Mitigation Plan and the National Development Plan and identify additional actions so as to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change.
I will continue to work with my government colleagues to ensure the successful delivery of this plan and commit to measures and actions that will support our approach to carbon neutrality without compromising capacity for sustainable food production.
While the mitigation potential for agriculture is limited, agriculture can and must play a key role in contributing to Ireland's climate change and energy targets in the years ahead