The government has published its Climate Action Plan, 2023, which it says will “change Ireland for the better”.
The 284-page publication contains a number of measures for the agricultural industry to reduce emissions.
It looks at the current state of play, emissions profile to date, 2025 and 2030 KPIs, measures to deliver sectoral emissions ceilings, a significant reduction in Nitrous Oxide emissions by changing farm management practices in relation to nutrient use, increasing focus on low-methane traits within animal breeding programmes, supporting a transition to alternative land uses through diversification options and a raft of actions.
The document states that it is “guided” by the Food Vision 2030 strategy.
It contains measures that it believes will reduce nitrogen and methane emissions, increase carbon capture, enhance biodiversity, provide diversification options, enhance adaptation, and support the development of new research.
The document proposes a series of 2023, 2024 and 2025 actions to deliver abatement in agriculture.
The measures cover five main headings, which include:
- Changing how we fertiliser our land;
- Improving the efficiency of our animals;
- Expanding our organic sector;
- Provide options to livestock farmers;
- Expanding Ireland’s domestic biomethane industry.
In summary, its actions for the sector for 2023, are as follows:
- Introduce a national fertiliser database;
- Increase the adoption of protected urea;
- Continue to fund LESS to contribute to nitrogen reductions;
- Provide support for the Protein Aid Scheme to support the production of legumes, which play an important role in fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere, resulting in reduced chemical nitrogen fertiliser usage;
- Provide data and analysis to farmers on the benefits of improved animal feeding through knowledge transfer;
- Promote improved animal breeding through focusing on low methane traits;
- Improved animal feeding – continue to work with all stakeholders to develop a slow-release bolus pasture-based feed additive;
- Develop a methane-reducing slurry additive;
- Provide financial support to farmers who convert to organic farming;
- Mobilise recommendations of the Food Vision sectoral groupings and support land use diversification options for livestock farmers, such as anaerobic digestion, forestry and tillage, to incentivise voluntary livestock reductions;
- Start-up of the Teagasc biomethane anaerobic digestion pilot plant in Grange;
- Continue support for the European Innovation Partnership pilot project – Small Biogas Demonstration Programme and dissemination of learnings;
- Deliver a National Biomethane Strategy within 6 months;
- Seek financial opportunities for capital support for the development of a biomethane industry in Ireland;
- Identify and address the research and knowledge gaps around the supply of feedstocks, the role of digestate and the sequestration potential regarding biomethane production.