On Tuesday last I attended and spoke at the launch of a new partnership between NUIG and Teagasc which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Irish agriculture. The two organisations have established a ‘Strategic Research and Training Alliance on Carbon-Neutral Agriculture’ will help our country’s transition to a low carbon, climate resilient economy.
The strategic alliance between NUIG and Teagasc will facilitate new research projects and new postgraduate courses aimed at examining how Ireland can cut greenhouse gas emissions generated during food production.
Climate Change presents many challenges for Ireland not least in how we manage our overall emissions profile. These challenges are well understood by Government as reflected in the National Policy Position on Climate Action and the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.
As provided for in the Act, climate action in Ireland is being addressed from two different perspectives – namely mitigation and adaptation. In terms of addressing mitigation – which is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions – the first National Mitigation Plan will be submitted to Government for approval by June 2017.
The Plan will focus on four key sectors – Transport, Electricity Generation, Built Environment, and Agriculture and Forestry which is where this new strategic alliance between NUIG and Teagasc will come in.
There is a very great need, on the one hand, to reduce emissions and on the other, to consider the global challenge of sustainable food production for a projected population of over 9 billion by 2050.
We need to find the optimal balance between reducing emissions within the agriculture and land use sector while taking into account the vital need to maximise sustainable food production. Research and work that will take place under this partnership between NUIG and Teagasc will be central to helping us achieve this balance and also our national, European and international aims and obligations at combatting Climate Change.