With one-third of Irish emissions coming from agriculture and projections suggesting that these will flatline in the next 20 years instead of meeting EU reduction targets, Alan Matthews, professor emeritus of European agricultural policy at Trinity College, proposed a radical levy system to re-orient agricultural production.

"The best way to send a signal is a levy or tax on carbon emissions. Conversely, if the farm is sequestering carbon, the farmer should be rewarded," Prof Matthews said.