Why land use changes could help Irish farmers reduce greenhouse gas emission targets
The Irish agricultural sector needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, according to European Commission’s Dan Burgar Kuzelickio.
This comes following the introduction of the Paris Agreement, which came into effect last November and requires Ireland to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 40%
But, Kuzelickio, a Policy Officer with the European Commission said at the recent Agricultural Science Association Addressing Climate Change in Irish Agriculture conference that some of the Irish agricultural sectors requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be mitigated by land use changes.
“The higher the share of agricultural emissions in a country the more difficult it is for that country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, so they will receive flexibility under LULUCF.
If we look at the EU in 2012, Ireland had the leading amount of agricultural emissions in its inventory with around 31-32% of all emissions in Ireland coming from agriculture.
The Commission representative added that due to the contribution agriculture plays to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, land use changes such as increased levels of afforestation and improvement management practices can result in the target being reduced from 30% to 20%.
Kuzelickio also said that the Commission needs to ensure that there is a coherence between EU food security and climate change objectives.
We can not trade one for the other.
“We are encouraging the sustainable intensification of food production by optimising the sectors contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation.
“These were the guiding principals for the Commission to come up with a framework to lower our greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030,” he said.
The European Commission Policy Officer added that countries with a higher GDP will have to reduce their emissions by more than countries with lower a lower GDP and the targets are set on a per Member State basis rather then a sector basis.