Climate Change Advisory Council chair Marie Donnelly has said she is absolutely confident the agriculture sector will meet its emissions reduction target of 25% by 2030.

Speaking at the launch of Teagasc’s climate action strategy on Thursday, she said the new strategy builds on a very solid basis of structured planning, mechanisms to deliver and the involvement of all the people.

However, she warned that life will get a lot more difficult if agriculture doesn’t stay within its carbon budget and meet its target of 25% reduction in emissions by 2030.

If the target is not met by 2030, the remaining emissions reduction will be factored into the next emissions reduction budget. This, she said, will make it it even “tougher” to achieve the next targets post-2030.

“We cannot fiddle the books through accountancy. This is the reality and these are solid numbers,” Donnelly said.

She added that two years into our carbon budget, emissions have not reduced.

“We know from science that we need to keep the temperature increase to no more than 1.5°C,” she said

The sector with the highest emissions ambition is electricity, with an 80% reduction target by 2030.

“In the agricultural sector we will have to be prepared for the fact that there will unforeseen events. We will have droughts, we will have floods, we will get high temperatures but we have to be prepared and respond,” Donnelly said.

Agriculture, she said, needs to avoid an increase in emissions, as seen recently in the transport industry, by having structural changes in place that can build year on year to deliver emissions reductions.

This climate journey, she said, affects lives, incomes and communities.

“This journey and transition is all about people. We have to take into account that this is affecting people’s lives and we need to bring them with us as we go forward in this process,” she said.

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