Inventories of greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland are prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency annually in accordance with accounting rules agreed under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment is the relevant Minister in respect of these UN Climate Change rules.
Ireland is one of the most carbon efficient producers of meat and milk globally and this is well understood in the international marketplace. Given the expected increases in world food demand over the coming decades, Ireland is well positioned to meet this growing demand, while simultaneously, reducing overall absolute emissions.
The goal must be to develop low-emissions intensity production systems so that agriculture, globally, contributes towards meeting the objective of the Paris Agreement.
The Climate Action Plan recognises the inherent complexities of agricultural production and, in particular, that food production will always result in some level of emissions. I agree with An Taoiseach that it is important therefore to consider the importance of such food production in the long term trajectory for emission reductions. The Climate Action Plan recognises the importance of balancing the challenge of meeting increasing food demand internationally whilst at the same time contribution to Ireland’s climate commitments and identifies that this will need to be addressed at EU and international levels.
My Department and I will continue to engage with DCCAE and the EPA on this important matter as to how best to approach emissions arising from agriculture while ensuring food and nutrition security is protected.