Have your say: An ambitious climate roadmap for agriculture
Farmers and the wider public are being encouraged to have their say on how Ireland’s agriculture sector can best meet its climate ambitions.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has developed ‘Ag-Climatise‘, a draft ‘National Climate & Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector to 2030 and Beyond’.
The draft roadmap, which is available on the department’s website, aims to translate the overall sectoral climate ambitions into more detailed actions for delivery over the coming years.
This is an opportunity for farmers, who will be involved in implementing practical changes on farm, to share their views on the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with food production.
The all-of-Government Climate Action Plan to tackle climate breakdown set demanding emissions reduction targets across sectors such as transport, residential, construction and waste management.
The agri-food sector must also play its part, reducing its emissions by between 10% and 15% by 2030, while also taking advantage of the opportunities that this challenge presents.
Agriculture is tasked with increasing the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere through afforestation and new ways of managing land, as well as contributing to the development of sustainable decarbonised energy systems.
Activity to reduce ammonia emissions, which impact human and ecosystem health though poor air quality, will go hand-in-hand with efforts to reduce GHG emissions. Like other EU member states, Ireland must reduce its ammonia emissions between now and 2030 to meet annual ceilings.
A roadmap for the agriculture sector
Ireland exports 90% of the food it produces, selling to 178 countries all over the world, and consumers have never been more conscious of the environmental footprint of the food they consume.
Irish agriculture has become one of the most carbon efficient producers of beef and dairy in Europe and under Origin Green, this is widely recognised, but the sector will need to do more to meet increasing market demands for environmentally sustainable produce.
The consultation document sets out the unique climate and air challenges facing Irish agriculture and the opportunities arising in meeting these targets and ambitions.
The roadmap proposes challenging actions which will require not only ongoing concerted effort, but a step-up right across the sector from primary producer through to the processor.
The draft roadmap has three elements:
Implementing changes now: To ensure the actions necessary to protect the environment and address climate change are carried through to operational reality for farmers on the ground now. Examples of proposed actions include: adoption of low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment; and changes in fertiliser type;
Acting in partnership: All stakeholders right along the food chain, from farm to fork, will have to contribute in a spirit of partnership, bearing in mind the need for a Just Transition; and
Preparing for the future: Using best available science to inform policy development and to help stakeholders make strategic choices about the future.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine would like to hear the views of the farming and wider public on how Irish agriculture can best meet its climate ambitions and help shape the sector for future generations.
This consultation will also inform the development of the next agri-food strategy to 2030 and the CAP post-2020 strategic planning process; both of which are underway.
Take the opportunity to complete the online questionnaire or send written submissions, observations and comments by email or post to the department.
The consultation is open until Friday, January 10, 2020.