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Abstract

With the Food Harvest 2020 and Foodwise 2025, Ireland has published two national food strategies to chart the direction of agri-food, forestry and fisheries for what will come after the EU milk quota abolishment and to develop a strong and sustainable ‘green’ pillar of the Irish economy up to 2025. Next to this agricultural development strategy, Ireland has Greenhouse Gas emission targets set, which since 2009, not only contain the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme sector but also the non-ETS sector. In the absence of any mitigation, agricultural GHG emissions in Ireland are projected to increase by 9% by 2030 relative to the 2005 base year due to strong growth of the agriculture sector. Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs) estimated by the Teagasc Working Group on GHG emissions have projected the total technically feasible mitigation potential for the Irish agriculture, forestry and land use (AFOLU) sector up to 2030. Existing Irish studies on the real term realisation of mitigation measures identify, through the use of either probit or logit models, farmers’ attitudes and farm structures that influence the level of adoption of abatement tools. This study adjusts the MACC abatement potential by applying the identified uptake rates of these Irish case studies. The adjusted mitigation potential for the AFOLU sector appears to lie 29% below the potential projected through the MACC approach. From the results, it can be inferred that policy measures need to be implemented in order to increase the abatement potential of the AFOLU sector, to substantially help bring the nexus between agricultural development and GHG emission targets in Ireland closer together. One main factor influencing the uptake rate of mitigation measures is the farmers’ understanding of the issues and measures available to tackle these. Therefore, the behavioural changes of farmers need to be understood and to reduce agricultural GHG emissions,polices are needed that remove the barriers to behavioural change.

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