Environment, Climate and Communications | Meeting emission targets while protecting the agri-food industry
To ask the Minister for the Environment; Climate and Communications the degree to which he continues to ensure the meeting of emission targets, while protecting the agri-food industry, given the likelihood of food shortages in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2021 commits Ireland to a legally binding target of a climate neutral economy no later than 2050 and a reduction in emissions of 51% by 2030 compared to 2018 levels. Following the process set out in the Act, a carbon budget programme proposed by the Climate Change Advisory Council was adopted by the Oireachtas on 6 April 2022. On 28 July, the Government approved Sectoral Emission Ceilings for both the first and second carbon budget periods, (i.e. 2021-2025 and 2026-2030), with the exception the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, which will be determined later this year. For our agriculture sector, this process has set a 10% emission reduction target by 2025 and a 25% emissions reduction target by 2030.
The 2023 Climate Action Plan has outlined how these emissions reductions can be achieved in the coming years, by increasing our ambition for efficiency in the sector while also promoting the diversification of agricultural activities. The targets set will improve animal breeding, feeding and finishing and will expand the organic sector to 450,000 ha, and the tillage sector to 400,000 ha. It will also reduce our use of chemical fertilizer to a maximum of 300,000 tonnes by 2030.
My Department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine continue to collaborate on reducing our carbon emissions, while also ensuring the security and sustainability of our food production. The challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our agriculture sector while ensuring our food security, is also a key opportunity for Ireland to become a world leader in long-term sustainable food production. I remain confident that our family farms will fully exploit the opportunities of this transition without compromising on sustainable food production.
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