Ireland’s agriculture sector must be prepared for unforeseen events such as droughts, floods and high temperatures to which it must respond, the chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) ?Marie Donnelly has said.
“Whatever we do and the measures we take, [they] need to be structured to avoid a rebound like we’ve seen in transport. We need to have structural changes that can build year on year going forward,” she said at the launch of Teagasc’s new climate strategy last week.
Donnelly warned that if agriculture doesn’t stay within its first carbon budget, the targets will go into the second budget and “life gets more difficult”.
“We’re two years now in the first carbon budget and our emissions have not reduced.??”
However the CCAC head outlined that other sectors are not on track to meet their targets, with emissions on the rise.
“The sector with the highest ambition is electricity, an 80% reduction by 2030 which is almost decarbonisation of our electricity system.
“If you’d said to me two years ago was that a realistic objective I would have said yes, we can do that but we’ve had the Ukraine war in the interim period, we’ve had huge increases in energy costs, electricity costs, fuel costs. We have a threat over even security of supply.
“External factors are impacting on that sector right now, which we couldn’t have foreseen before and are causing an increase in emissions in the electricity sector rather than a decrease,” Donnelly said.
She added that emissions from transport declined during the COVID-19 years but now they have rebounded.
“Our transport emissions have gone back up because we haven’t had a structural change in the transport sector which can bring the emissions down and keep them down,” she said.