Carbon emissions will become the new quota in Irish farming, it has been warned.
Professor Alan Matthews of Trinity College Dublin highlighted the new challenges of operating in a carbon-constrained world as the Irish agriculture industry looks to a future without any limits on milk production.
Addressing industry leaders at the Agricultural Science Association conference in Kilkenny, Prof Matthews said significant expansion was forecast for the agriculture industry.
He called for targeted subsidies to encourage farmers to adopt practices to build up carbon stores in soils and suggested a carbon levy on emissions, with the proceeds recycled back to the farming sector.
Meanwhile, a global deal to tackle climate change will present an opportunity for Irish innovators to help people in the developing world, former President Mary Robinson has said. Scientists had the opportunity to "make life better" for millions of people across the planet by making "clever use" of technology, she said.