Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are predicted to “increase steadily” over the coming years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The newly updated greenhouse gas projections for 2040 show there is a “significant gap” in Ireland meeting its emissions targets, according to the agency.

The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Projections for the period 2018-2040 show that, while there will be a decrease in emissions overall, Ireland will need “full implementation” of its mitigation measures if it’s going to meet the objectives set out under the EU’s ‘Effort Sharing Targets’.

These targets refer specifically to the years 2020 and 2030.

In terms of agriculture, the EPA said that the projected rise in emissions from the sector is down to an increase in animal numbers, “particularly for the dairy herd”.

The agency argues that emissions mitigation policies, that have been identified by Teagasc, will be important for agriculture going forward.

Other sectors

In the transport industry, the EPA says that emissions will increase in this sector until at least 2022. The EPA argues that emissions from transport could continue to increase steadily until 2030 if fuel prices “remain at a relatively low level for an extended period of time”.

In the energy sector, the EPA highlights the “sensitivity” of Ireland’s energy demand – and therefore emissions – to future fuel prices.

According to the agency, this could pose a threat to Ireland’s overall climate change mitigation targets.

The EPA suggested that there is a particular overlap between energy and transportation.

Laura Burke, the director general of the EPA, said: “Our projections show that, in the long-term, there is a projected decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, as a result of climate mitigation policies and measures in the National Development Plan.

“However, to meet its EU targets for 2030 and achieve national policy ambitions, Ireland will need full implementation of those measures, plus additional measures in future plans,” she added.