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Agriculture was a key sticking point in recent days
emission cuts

Agriculture was the sticking point, but what are the emissions targets for all sectors?

While agriculture was a sticking point in recent days, the government came to an agreement yesterday.

LAST UPDATE | 29 Jul 2022

EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS have officially been set by the Government, following days of intense negotiations over how much the agriculture sector would be required to cut emissions.

A deal was finally reached yesterday, with the Government deciding that farmers must cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.

While agriculture has been the sticking point in recent days, other sectors will now have to work to bring down their emissions over the coming years to hit an overall reduction of 51% by 2030.

What is expected of each sector?

The targets are being placed on the electricity, transport, buildings, industry and agriculture sectors, with each sector now being asked to bring down the amount of greenhouse gas they produce by a specific amount.

Late last year, with the publication of the Climate Action Plan, the Government indicated how much each individual sector would be expected to cut these greenhouse gas emissions by to meet the overall 51% target by 2030.

These targets are:

  • Electricity – 75%
  • Transport – 50%
  • Commercial and public buildings – 45%
  • Residential Buildings – 40%
  • Industry – 35%
  • Agriculture – 25%
  • Others (including petroleum refining and waste) – 50%

Originally, it was expected that emission reduction targets would be placed on both land-use and forestry, however this has been deferred by another 18 months to allow the Land-Use strategy to be completed.

The Journal previously detailed where these targets came from and why exactly Ireland needs to reduce its emissions in the first place.

Why was agriculture so controversial?

Divisions within the Government parties on how much the agriculture sector would be expected to drop its emissions by were the primary sticking point for the emissions targets.

Agriculture – the largest emitter of greenhouse gases – was given a target reduction range of between 22% and 30% last November when the Climate Action Plan was published.

Members of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, particularly backbench TDs from more rural constituencies, wanted to see the target stick closer to 22%, while members of the Green Party wanted to push towards 30%.

There was additional pressure from farming lobby groups, like the Irish Farming Association, who sought to keep the target to 22%.

Days of negotiations between the Department of the Environment and the Department of Agriculture followed, with senior Government sources initially expressing concern whether a deal could be reached.

However, yesterday evening the first signs that a compromise would be reached as sources said that talks were progressing. This followed further progress this morning before a deal was eventually struck this afternoon.

Farming organisations have been particularly critical of a lack of confirmed supports as to how they will make the cuts, however the Government did say there would be “generous financial incentives” within to meet the targets within Budget 2023.

The targets have also been described by the Government as “voluntary” for the agriculture sector.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said that while the targets are “challenging” he does see them as being achievable for farmers.

“I believe that this target reflects a very challenging, but ultimately achievable ambition for the sector,” McConalogue said.

“Farmers in this sector have been on a pathway to reduce emissions for many years but we are now stepping up those ambitions.

“I will back farm families and this government will too over the course of the next decade to reach our ambitious targets. 

“We will support them on every step of the way.”

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