Planting up to one hectare of native woodland on land under a new support package in the forthcoming budget, solar energy, and anaerobic digestion will deliver income for Irish farmers.
That is according to Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, who appeared on Today with Claire on RTÉ Radio 1 with presenter, Philip Boucher-Hayes, on Friday morning (July 29th).
He told listeners that “people believe that we are storing carbon in our forests and bogs”.
“Unfortunately, because of long-term practice trends, our land use is actually emitting carbon emissions, and we need to turn that around.”
The minister believes that to do this, we need to look at the whole island, optimise rural communities for the development of our people and store carbon, restore biodiversity and reduce pollution: nitrogen, ammonia and water.
This, he added, requires “a lot of good analysis”, and the EPA and Teagasc have “done the scientific analysis of what is actually happening on our land”.
“What we need to do now over the next eighteen months is to start designing our systems so that we store carbon in our bogs and change our entire forestry model.”
“We have to do a lot more afforestation. We need to make sure it is forestry in the right place and the right type of forestry. Also, we have started re-wetting our bogs.”
The minister stated that agriculture is already but will increasingly provide “a lot” of our energy. The government also announced the introduction of up to 5.7 TWh of AD.
Ryan believes that if delivered, it could account for about 15% of Ireland’s gas use by the end of this decade.
“We would be switching to our own gas rather than importing gas. There are four ADs in the country. We need a massive expansion of it. Again, the revenue from that will largely go to the farming community.”
“We will be using grass that is currently grown for cattle instead of diverting into a digestor. You mix that with the slurry. Slurry is one of the biggest issues that people know around the country in terms of pollution of our water and other impacts.”
“You mix that with green and other food wastes, and you create energy. With current prices coming from Russia being at almost ten times the typical historical levels, that is a way of protecting our people,” he concluded.
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