The sums don't tally on farming growth plans and our emissions reduction targets
Ireland's emission targets: 'Something has to give'
Published 23/11/2016 | 06:00
It has been quite a week for farmers and the climate.
In the space of a few days, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that emissions from agriculture had increased.
The IFA's environment spokesman, Thomas Cooney, more or less admitted it would be difficult to reduce them without reducing the national herd, and the minister in charge of climate action in Ireland said that "we have to drive down emissions in agriculture".
It's easy to understand why farmers feel embattled by the whole climate change issue. When they look out over their stock, and the quality of the food they produce, it can be difficult to accept that any of this process can be causing harm.
So how will climate change affect farmers? What new targets and regulations will be imposed on them? How will farming be different in the future? Will it be different at all?
The most obvious way that climate change affects farmers relates to the climate conditions in which they farm. A report by Maynooth University looked at the impact global warming will have on farming conditions.
Its findings are in line with what the EPA predicts for Ireland's climate: wetter winters and drier summers. By 2050, winters will be 10pc wetter than the 2013 average, and summers will have up to a 17pc decrease in average rainfall. The way in which this rain falls will also change: "Lengthier rainfalls events in winter and more intense downpours in summer", the report says.