Over the past few weeks there has been much discussion in the media regarding the setting of emissions targets for each sector by the Climate Change Advisory Council.
Farmers would accept a 22pc cut but the Greens and environmentalists want a 30pc cut.
Reducing agricultural emissions is a very complex issue.
The need for food security and production has to be blended with the need to reduce emissions, and the farmer also has to make a living at the end of the day.
It is worth noting that one of the main recommendations of the Paris Climate Agreement was that reducing emissions should not be at the expense of food production. This is especially relevant in view of the fact that global population is increasing by about one million per week and all these people need to be fed.
Environmentalists and green activists continually trot out the simplistic mantra that if Irish farmers would just reduce their dairy and beef cow numbers, emissions would also fall.
It is not that simple. Irish agriculture is currently assumed to generate 35pc of national greenhouse gas emissions. What is not generally admitted is that up to half of these emissions are being stored or sequestered in our grassland, hedgerows, bogland and trees. If this was accounted for, it would reduce the figure for agriculture to about 17-18pc of the national total.
Unfortunately, no scientific assessment of exact agricultural emissions has been carried out in this country.
In Northern Ireland, such a study was initiated in 2015. It took two years and cost £45 million.
It was money well spent.
Every field and farm in Northern Ireland has had its carbon footprint mapped and documented.
The farmers up there know what they are dealing with and what they have to do.
Many corrective measures such as low-emission slurry spreading, low-emission fertiliser, lower protein feeds and seaweed additives are being undertaken on farms, but it will take three to five years to have an impact.
Some commentators think that farmers are looking for a free ride on this issue.
This is not true.
The cost of greenhouse gas emissions will be borne directly by individual farmers and their families.
Glenmore, Co Kilkenny
With the best will in the world it will take some years to transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
Likewise, it will take time for farmers to acquire more seed, change machinery and find new markets for produce.
We the consumers are best placed to avert climate chaos by saving energy right now and putting a stop to waste.
So let’s drive less, walk and cycle more
and for God’s sake do not leave the immersion on ‘Bath’!
Prosperous, Co Kildare
Reports yesterday suggest that the Taoiseach will have to step in to resolve the row between Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue over methane emissions from cattle.
It should be pointed out that the Agriculture Minister is not a spokesperson for the Irish farmers but a representative of the people.
I write this while on my holidays on the foothills of the Mourne Mountains where all around me I see how the climate is
changing rapidly in the scarcity of bees, butterflies and general flora.
What is happening calls for global leadership and action.
It cannot wait.
Our children’s children won’t inherit what we have.
Please, no more passing the problem on.
I cannot help thinking how strange it is that Liz Truss keeps conjuring up an image of Maggie’s clone – all blouse and bouffant hair.
Or is that Bojo?
Dundalk, Co Louth
Despite a valiant effort, Galway were unable to find the keys to the kingdom.
Beaumont, Dublin 9