Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has highlighted the dairy industry as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in a recent report.
According to the data, Irish animal agriculture was responsible for a 2.7 percent increase of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.
In total, the country emitted 61.19 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2016 – representing a total of 3.5 percent increase from 2015.
The repots says the most significant driver within agriculture is the number of dairy cows – which has risen by 22 percent in the last four years, with greenhouse gas emissions rising by eight percent during that period.
According to the report, ‘overall emissions trends are increasing, making achievement of Ireland’s long-term decarbonization goals ever more difficult’.
Under The Paris Agreement, countries worldwide are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – or to ‘decarbonize’ – in a bid to address climate change.
The new data found that transport emissions have also increased by 3.7 percent in 2016, while energy industry emissions grew by 6.1 percent.
Dr. Eimear Cotter, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability said: “We need to adopt a much greater sense of urgency about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while radically improving energy efficiency.
“Ireland must optimize agricultural production to ensure long term environmental integrity and sustainability.
“The growth in this sector, particularly for dairy and other cattle, points to very significant risks in relation to meeting our decarbonisation objectives.”