Agriculture Climate Targets Challenging but Achievable
Teagasc is committed to continue its research and advisory programme supporting farmers to meet the reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions set in the Government’s Climate Action Plan.
Many farmers have already commenced the journey of reducing emissions from their farming activities, by implementing the proven technologies outlined in the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC), which are endorsed in the Climate Action Plan.
The Teagasc Signpost Programme is leading ‘Farmers for Climate Action’ with over 100 Signpost demonstration farmers, and over 50 industry partners working collectively, through this programme, to reduce emissions from the agri sector. These farms, which cover the range of farming enterprises, are demonstrating best climate practices for their farming enterprises.
The Government commitment to reduce Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 51% by 2030 has implications for all parts of the Irish economy. Research has been undertaken nationally to assess how this reduction target would be achieved. The reduction target for agriculture, of 22% to 30% by 2030, is challenging, as is the case in other sectors of the economy.
Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O’Mara said: “Farmers have a major role to play in reducing Ireland’s emissions and contributing to addressing the climate change challenge. Teagasc, through its advisory and education programmes, is supporting farmers to adapt to the changes required and to implement the technologies we know will work. Our research teams, in collaboration with other national and international research institutes, have a pipeline full of medium and long term research projects to deliver new solutions that can reduce agriculture’s environmental impact. I am confident that these will provide a second and third suite of technologies that farmers can then use to reduce agriculture’s footprint and its total emissions. The target for agriculture is challenging, but it is achievable, with a concerted effort from all involved in the sector over the next ten years and beyond.”
Director of Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc Dr Stan Lalor said: “Understanding and adopting the technologies and actions that can make a difference towards achieving climate targets will be critical. Through our advisory and education programmes, Teagasc will be focussing its efforts on farmers and the wider industry to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to implement climate mitigation, biodiversity enhancement and adaptation practices. As agriculture comprises over one third of national emissions, ambitious and challenging GHG reductions will be required. However, the sector is well placed to meet this challenge.”
Dr Tom O’Dwyer, Head of the Signpost Programme said: “The Teagasc Signpost Programme and its farming and food industry partners will play an important role in supporting farmers as they fine-tune their farming systems to meet these challenging targets. We have a roadmap and further research and innovation will provide us with more solutions over the next few years. The priority for now is to assist farmers to adopt already known and proven technologies which reduce GHG emissions.”