I propose to take Questions Nos. 211 and 212 together.
The Climate Action Plan identifies the long-term challenge for the agriculture sector to meet the national policy objective, set out in the 2014 National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development, of an approach to carbon neutrality which does not compromise our capacity for sustainable food production. Ireland’s agriculture sector has strong green credentials and a positive international reputation in terms of carbon efficiency. However, given the contribution of agriculture to overall national greenhouse gas emissions, a shift in the sector is needed and achieving this objective will be a significant challenge facing Irish agriculture over the coming decades.
Significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved through meeting the targets set out for the agriculture sector in the Climate Action Plan. To achieve these targets, the Plan sets out a range of actions to reduce emissions on farms, promote afforestation and diversification of land use, develop opportunities in the bio-economy and in the supply of substitutes for fossil fuels, promote better management of peatlands and soils, and develop clusters of best practice.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has recently launched a public consultation on a draft National Climate and Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector to 2030 and Beyond. This consultation aims to address the issue of emission reduction targets while meeting the high ambitions of the Irish agriculture sector. It recognises the important role of the next Common Agricultural Policy, which is to have a strong climate ambition and will be implemented in Ireland through the development of a strategic plan for the period 2021 to 2027.