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Hayden Montgomery, Agriculture and Climate Change

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Uploaded on Jul 1, 2009

About this Event
09 Jan 2009

Agriculture and Climate Change in Dublin Castle

The Institute of International and European Affairs has organized a major conference on Agriculture and Climate Change in Dublin Castle on January 9, 2009, in order to address one of the major strategic challenges facing the Irish economy: reducing emissions in line with the ambitious targets proposed by the EU for 2020.

The Irish economy faces up to a 30% emissions reduction by 2020 on its domestic sector, largely made up of emissions from agriculture and transport. Agriculture alone accounts for 40% of domestic sector emissions, compared with an EU average of 9% - only New Zealand among developed countries compares internationally.

This means that Ireland has a unique strategic challenge and will be under pressure to make the transition to sustainable agricultural production before its European partners. Failure to introduce cuts in the agriculture sector will mean an increase in the burden on other sectors. Eventually a point will be reached where Irelands distance to target begins to appear unmanageable. The challenge we therefore face is determining how targets can be achieved without damaging the sector and the Irish economy.

This situations, however, also provides Ireland with a unique opportunity. We are at the dawning of the era of a carbon conscious consumer and a carbon competitive market place. If Irish agriculture can find ways to meet these challenges, it will be positioned to take advantage of these trends. The skills and research developed in the process would be valuable not only in Ireland, but in Europe and the wider world.

This conference provided a forum for the discussion of these ideas and has resulted in the establishment of a working group (link) on Agriculture and Climate Change.

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