Eco Tips—Emissions

A recent report confirmed that not only is Ireland failing to achieve its targeted rate of carbon emission reduction but, worse still, emissions have increased. The spotlight is currently on farming as it emits more than any other single industry. The demand to reduce the herd size is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. For years, farmers were incentivised to intensify their farming efforts and, with the demise of quotas, to increase herd size. Such a policy cannot be undone overnight. Progress is being made in certain quarters: for example, in trials Prof Gilliland from UCD has achieved a 26% reduction in carbon output from cattle by planting herbs and clover instead of using artificial fertiliser. The animals thrive, reach market weight sooner and produce less methane. The increase in the cost of fertilisers has caused some farmers to reduce their rate of application, without a decrease in productivity. The aim now must be to find a way to reduce farming’s overall carbon output countrywide, whilst also maintaining farmers’ livelihoods. The technology exists, now the will and the correct advice and incentives are required. Meanwhile, everyone else can strive to reduce their own carbon footprint. The rate of climate change is accelerating, we need to halt it.