The All-of-Government Plan to tackle climate breakdown identifies a series of actions for the agriculture, forestry and land-use 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. This reflects our three pillar policy approach to achieving carbon neutrality without comprising sustainable food production
These actions in this all-of-government 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. The Teagasc MACC curve provides an identifiable suite of actions for delivery including 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.
To achieve the challenging target for the sector as set out in the All-of-Government Plan will require immediate action and will require early adoption and high levels of take-up of the actions identified across our 139,00 plus family farms.
I see three important actions that can be advanced immediately.
- Deepening engagement with farmers and other stakeholders to promote the necessary deployment of new technologies and changes in farming practices;
- Improving nitrogen use efficiency such as increasing adoption of low emissions slurry spreading, introduction of clover in grassland swards and improving fertiliser efficiency; and
- Continuing our support for research and innovation such as advancing grassland and fertiliser management techniques and examining the potential of novel feed additives in grass based production systems.
I will work to ensure that the next Common Agriculture Policy is aligned with this ambition and that climate action is mainstreamed in the development of our CAP strategic plan to ensure the delivery of this target. Furthermore that enhancements to CAP performance are complimented by market based incentives and regulation where necessary.
Ireland has an opportunity to become a global leader in actions on climate change. If we succeed in our ambition in this area we will create a progressive and sustainable society that is not only economically successful but also offers an enhanced quality of lifestyle to society as a whole.