Dairy expansion and fertiliser usage set to drive agri emissions up 9pc
Agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are projected to increase by 9pc by 2030, relative to the 2005 baseline, unless action is taken, according to a new report from Teagasc.
This projected increase, highlighted by Teagasc, will be mainly driven by increased dairy cow numbers and fertiliser use on Irish farms.
It comes as Ireland faces EU commitments to reduce overall GHG emissions by 20pc by 2020 and 30pc by 2030, relative to the 2005 level.
While GHG emissions from the sector have generally been on the decline since the late 1990s, the recent growth in Irish agricultural output, and in particular the expansion of the dairy sector, has seen emissions begin to increase.
The report highlights the potential for GHG abatement based on current scientific knowledge to limit the emissions from the sector.
Currently agriculture comprises one-third of Irish GHG emissions. Agricultural greenhouse gas emissions principally comprise of methane (from enteric fermentation and manure management) and nitrous oxide (from fertilizer and animal excreta deposition on soils).
Conversely, grasslands and forests soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, offsetting some of these emissions.
In recent months, European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, Phil Hogan issued a stark warning that Ireland will face massive fines unless it improves its environmental performance.