The Irish government has set a binding target of 25% lower GHG emissions for its agriculture sector by 2030, but farmers say there are no financial incentives to help them achieve such a reduction.
Ireland has committed to a 25% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2030 after a bitter political battle between farmers, business groups and environmentalists. The coalition government announced binding sectoral targets to slash overall carbon emissions by 51% by 2030, a daunting challenge for a country that has consistently missed climate goals, making it per capita one of the world highest emitters. Eamon Ryan, the environment minister and Irish Green party leader, claimed that the announcement was “hugely significant”.
The most contested sector was agriculture. It causes about 37% of Ireland’s emissions but farm groups opposed hard, citing its traditional role in society and food security. The agriculture cuts will be incentivised and voluntary, rather than mandated, but cattle farmers will face pressure to cull cattle.
Tim Cullinan, the leader of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), said the target was about the survival of the government rather than survival of rural Ireland. “This is a potentially devastating blow for Irish farming and the rural economy,” he said. The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association called the deal a “sellout” that would make many farms unviable.