Climate measures in Irish agriculture

Today, I made an online presentation to a virtual workshop jointly organised by MAREI, the Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland centre at University College Cork and the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin on climate and energy policy research. The talk discussed measures in agriculture to reduce Irish agriculture’s greenhouse gas footprint in the context of the country’s policy goals for climate stabilisation. Below is a transcript of the talk.

Agriculture is the single largest contributor to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 34% of total national emissions in 2018, but 46% of the emissions that are limited by the EU Effort Sharing Decision.

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Mitigation potential in EU agriculture

In my previous post on this blog, I noted that the Commission’s impact assessment (IA) accompanying its presentation of the new Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) proposal concluded that very little additional agricultural mitigation is expected in the period 2021-2030, over and above what is projected to occur under current policies.

Two possible conclusions might be drawn from this finding. One is that the agricultural sector lobby organisations have used their political clout to ensure that the sector is required to do as little as possible to contribute to the EU’s 2030 climate targets. This reaction was advanced by some NGO activists in response to the post.

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Is agriculture off the hook in the EU’s 2030 climate policy?

In October 2014, the European Council agreed the 2030 policy framework for climate and energy policy. The framework sets out the European Union (EU)’s commitment to a binding target of at least a 40% domestic reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, with the reductions in the Emission Trading System (ETS) and non-ETS sectors (NETS) amounting to 43% and 30% respectively by 2030 compared to 2005. The European Council also set an EU target of at least 27% for the share of renewable energy consumed in the EU in 2030, and an indicative target at the EU level of at least 27% for improving energy efficiency in 2030 compared to projections of future energy consumption based on current trends.

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