Agriculture to be on ‘lower trajectory around meeting climate targets’

Agriculture will be on a ‘lower trajectory’ when it comes to meeting Ireland’s climate targets under the programme for government, according to one Fianna Fáil TD.

Jack Chambers, a TD for Dublin West, was speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, Tuesday, June 16, in the wake of the programme for government receiving support from the parliamentary parties of the three parties involved – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

The reason for this “lower trajectory” is due to biogenic methane, Chambers suggested – the “distinct characteristics” of which, as a short-term greenhouse gas, were noted in the programme.

There is a special economic and social role for agriculture, and if you look at the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], and how it defines biogenic methane, it’s a short-term gas in the the context of greenhouse gas emissions.

“That’s why agriculture will be on a lower trajectory around meeting our climate targets,” the TD noted.

Chambers explained that this was one of the factors in the agreement of a new ‘flagship environment scheme’ in the programme for government.

This scheme is modeled after the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS), in the hope of increasing farmer participation compared to current schemes.

Agriculture has its special economic and social role, as has been reflected in this document. But actually building sustainable, high-quality food production in this country is really important, and that’s why it has a core role going forward in terms of economic recovery as well.

The programme for government notes: “We are committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 [a 51% reduction over the decade] and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

“The 2050 target will be set in law by the Climate Action Bill which will be introduced in the Dáil within the first 100 days of government alongside a newly established ‘Climate Action Council’. The bill will define how five-year carbon budgets will be set,” it adds.

Notably, it goes on to say: “The special economic and social role of agriculture and the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane, as described by the IPCC, will be fully recognised in plans to achieve these targets.”