Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
19. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if, in the context of setting carbon reduction baselines, credit is given to this country for the amount of wetlands, bog lands, forestry, trees, hedgerows and grasslands when compared with other food producers throughout Europe and elsewhere, whose productions methods do not equate with this country in terms of emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18011/21]
21. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the eco-friendly nature of Ireland’s agri-food production sector is taken into account in the context of carbon reduction with particular reference to permanent pasture, hedges and forestry and wet areas; if not, if Ireland is being treated in the same manner as other countries that do not have a beef eco-friendly production method; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17656/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos 19 and 21 together.
As set out in the Programme for Government, we are committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030, equivalent to a 51% reduction over the decade and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The Programme for Government also recognises the special economic and social role of agriculture and the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane, as described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in terms of plans and strategies to achieve these targets.
While emissions from the agri-food sector have continued to increase, Irish agriculture has a positive international reputation in terms of producing high quality, sustainable produce. The long-term challenge for the sector is to fully contribute to achieving a climate neutral economy no later than 2050, while not compromising our capacity for sustainable food production. The Government is committed to finding the balance between environmental, climate and biodiversity needs and supports for farmers.
Measurement of agriculture and land-use emissions from each Member State is carried out on a consistent basis, which captures the individual characteristics of each Member State, including Ireland.
Article 13.7 of the Paris Agreement, of which both the EU and its Member States are signatories, requires signed parties to provide regular greenhouse gas emissions inventories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in order to track both a country’s achievement of their nationally determined contributions and climate policies as well as regional climate policies, and the world's progress in limiting global warming. The UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories for Annex I Parties (which covers EU Member States) require that Annex I Parties should use the IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories to measure emissions inventories. This ensures consistency of measurement across Member States.