Agriculture

Agriculture was responsible for 34.0% of Ireland's Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2018

This section includes emissions from the following activities in the agriculture sector; Enteric Fermentation, Manure Management, Agricultural Soils , Liming and Urea Application. The latest provisional EPA GHG inventory data shows Agriculture emissions increased by 1.9% or 0.38 Mt CO2eq in 2018 following an increase in 2017 of 2.9%. The most significant drivers for the increased emissions in 2018 are higher dairy cow numbers (+2.7%) with an increase in milk production of 4.4%. In the last 5 years dairy cow numbers have increased by 27% and corresponding milk production by 40%. This reflects national plans to expand milk production under Food Wise 2025 and the removal of the milk quota in 2015. In 2018, there were also increased CO2 emissions (+10.6%) from fertiliser application on soils. Other cattle and sheep numbers decreased by 1.2% and 1.7% respectively, while pig numbers increased by 0.7%. Total fossil fuel consumption in agriculture/forestry activities increased by 7.8% in 2018 compared to 2017.

Ireland has higher than average emissions of CH4 and N2O because we have the highest agriculture emission contribution from any of the EU Member States.
Emissions from Agriculture reached a peak in 1998 and decreased to below their 1990 level since 2002, reflecting long-term decline in livestock populations and in fertiliser use due to the Common Agricultural Policy. However, emissions from Agriculture in 2018 exceeded 1990 levels by 1.1%, following annual increases recorded in 6 out of the last 7 years.

At the time of publication in June 2019 the emissions projections figures show that agriculture emissions are projected to increase by 4% over the period 2018-2030 to 21 Mt CO2eq under the With Existing Measures scenario (shown in the graph below as stacked bars).

Under the With Additional Measures scenario emissions are projected to increase by 3% from current levels to 2030. The difference between teh two scenarios is due to efficiency gains (in terms of fertiliser use) that are assumed under the With Additional Measures scenario.

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Agriculture Emissions and Projections (WEM) 1990-2030

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Sensitivity

The line graph below also shows a sensitivity assessment performed on the With Existing Measures scenario which is based on a 10% reduction in the dairy and other cattle herds. This has the impact of reducing emissions from the sector by approximately 18 Mt CO2eq over the 2018-2030 projected period.

Under the With Additional Measures scenario emissions are projected to increase by 3% from current levels to 2030. The difference between the two scenarios is due to efficiency assumptions that are incorporated into the With Additional Measures scenario.

Projections from the Agriculture Sector under the With Existing Measures (WEM) and With Additional Measures (WAM) scenario out to 2030, including a sensitivity assessment for the WEM scenario based on a 10% reduction in the national herd

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