The Government has agreed to set ceilings for maximum limits on greenhouse gas emissions for each sector of the Irish economy to the end of the decade.
It includes a 25% cut for agriculture. "There will be generous financial incentives [for farmers] in return with an additional financial package in Budget 2023," according to a Government statement.
The Sectoral Emissions Ceilings for 2030 have also been set for the electricity, transport, buildings and industry sectors. The targets for reductions in each area are as follows:
- Electricity: 75%
- Transport: 50%
- Buildings (Commercial and Public) 45%
- Buildings (Residential) 40%
- Industry: 35%
- Agriculture: 25%
- Other (gases, petroleum refining and waste): 50%
In addition, today's agreement commits additional resources for solar (more than doubling the target to 5,500 MW), off-shore wind (moving from a target of 5,000 MW to 7,000 MW), green hydrogen (an additional 2,000 MW), agro-forestry and anaerobic digestion (up to 5.7 TWh of biomethane).
The new climate plans were outlined at a press briefing today by Minister of State for Agriculture Martin Heydon, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan and Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Pippa Hackett.
Minister Ryan said he was happy with commitments made by Government colleagues and warned the scale of change is "beyond compare".
"The targets that have been set today are going to be challenging for all sectors but they are also fair, appropriate and, importantly, based on what is achievable.
"We have also agreed additional resources and commitments to scale up and speed up our progress on solar, off-shore wind, anaerobic digestion for nature, and agro-forestry.
"I have every faith that we will, together, reduce our overall economy-wide carbon emissions, year by year.
'We have to be ambitious, we have to be bold, we cannot delay'— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 28, 2022
Minister Eamon Ryan has said it is a 'hugely significant and important day' as the Government has reached agreement on carbon emission reductions for the agriculture sector | Read more: https://t.co/lSeM86elvw pic.twitter.com/d3zvuKQmFN
"This is not just the right thing to do for our environment and our planet; this is also the smart thing to do for our economy, and to protect ourselves against the high cost of fossil fuels."
Mr Ryan said Ireland had to be ambitious and bold. "We cannot delay."
The Minister for Agriculture said the target for farmers was "challenging but ultimately achievable".
Charlie McConalogue said that solutions are being embraced by farmers each week while scientific and technological developments were expanding.
"I'm confident that breakthroughs in areas like feed additives will provide viable implementable solutions over the next number of years and we today recognise the key role of decarbonising the energy system."
Minister Eamon Ryan has said every county has been asked to come forward with a 'pathfinder project' - a transport project that will decarbonise and also create a better local environment | Read more: https://t.co/lSeM86elvw pic.twitter.com/xgS8llR1FJ— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 28, 2022
The Climate Action Plan 2021 had already outlined a 51% reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in Ireland and suggested rough targets for each sector.
These included emission reductions in electricity of between 62 to 81%, transport of 42 to 50% and agriculture of 22% to 30%.