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Environment, Climate and Communications | To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the full extent of carbon and other emissions that occur on an annual basis in this jurisdiction; the total requirement of non-arable, wetlands or forestry available to counter this

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the full extent of carbon and other emissions that occur on an annual basis in this jurisdiction; the total requirement of non-arable, wetlands or forestry available to counter this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Bernard J. Durkan.


*    For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 2nd June, 2022.

(730  Received on 10th May, 2022.)

    To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which carbon sinks are available in this country with a view to combatting emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  – Bernard J. Durkan.  * For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 2nd June, 2022.      Ref No: 28763/22 Proof: 215 
 

REPLY



I propose to take Questions Nos 185 and 186 together.


The latest national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as reported publicly by the EPA for 2020 are 64.64 Mt CO2-eq of which the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector contributed net GHG emissions of 6.93 Mt CO2-eq. To meet our climate objective to reduce GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, we must reduce GHG emissions across all sectors while enhancing our management of the LULUCF sector to optimise options for carbon sequestration.

The LULUCF sector consists of the following categories: forest land, cropland, grassland, wetlands, settlements, other land and harvested wood products. It is currently the only sector which has the potential to sequester CO2. In 2015, the EU LULUCF sector reported a net carbon sink of about 309 Mt CO2-eq. This was dominated by CO2 sequestered by existing and new forests. In contrast, Ireland is currently a net emitter of greenhouse gasses (GHG) from the LULUCF sector.

This is largely due to the GHG emissions from grasslands and wetlands, resulting from drainage of organic soils, being greater than the sink from forest land and harvested wood products. All our LULUCF categories have the potential to be managed as net sinks for GHG.

The Climate Action Plan 2021 set out a range of LULUCF policies and measures which will establish a pathway for this sector to become a sustainable net sink in the long-term, supporting our transition to a carbon neutral economy and society no later than 2050. Actions to reduce Ireland’s net LULUCF emissions include:

– Increasing our annual afforestation rates and promoting forest management initiatives to increase carbon sinks and stores.

– Reducing management intensity (water table management) of grasslands on drained organic soils.

– Improving the management grasslands on mineral soils for carbon sequestration.

– Increasing the inclusion of cover crops in tillage and increasing the incorporation of straw to at least 10% of the tillage (cereal) area.

– Rehabilitating 65,000 hectares of peatlands across numerous landowners and projects.

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