Farming 19th Nov
What can Irish agriculture do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
With the expansion of the dairy industry greenhouse gases in agriculture have come under more scrutiny. Agriculture is the largest contributing factor to greenhouse gases compared to any other sector. Ireland has the lowest forest cover of all European countries. Forest cover here is 11% while over 40% of all land in the other 33-member states are wooded. I think the government need to give more incentives for farmers to have a certain percentage of their farm in forestry. The undeniable fact is that Earth is warming up, with the average global temperatures having increased by 0.85C between 1880 and 2012. Last winter Ireland experienced the wettest winter in decades. We got snow in February (The Beast from the East) and one of the driest summers on record. Our greenhouse gas emissions are playing a part in these extreme weather conditions. Ireland must reduce their emissions by 20% by 2020 and by 30% by 2030 as part of the Paris agreement. If we fail to reach these targets, we will have to pay in the region of a €600 million penalty. Teagasc thinks better animal genetics and longer grazing seasons will reduce our carbon footprint. Optimal use of slurry will help increase nitrogen efficiency which will also reduce our carbon footprint.
Pie chart of greenhouse gases by sector.
By: Andrew Strong