The latest greenhouse emissions projection completed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that Ireland is on track to reach just 56% of its 2030 emissions reduction target.

The agency’s modelling expects the farming sector to get 72% of the way towards its target if all Government climate plans stay on course, even those which have not yet been implemented.

The EPA modelling shows that agriculture is expected to reduce its emissions by 22% between 2023 and 2030, falling short of its 25% reduction target.

The EPA’s forecast, published on Tuesday, was made on the assumption that planned measures not already implemented, not yet finalised in legislation or which have yet to be resourced are adopted on farms.

Feed additives

These include the on-farm adoption of methane-reducing feed additives, an earlier slaughter age, lower use of regular urea, the covering of slurry storage facilities and water table management on 80,000ha of peat farmland.

However, these projections did not take account of a potential 1.5Mt of CO2 equivalents in emissions cuts which could come from farm diversification measures.

These measures and their expected contribution towards meeting agriculture’s climate targets were not included in the forecast as there is no clear roadmap laid out in policy to implement these measures.

If this 1.5Mt in CO2 equivalents are achieved the farming sector would be within touching distance of reaching its legally binding 25% target of emissions reduction from 2018 and 2030.