The key message from the highly successful ‘Agriculture and Climate Change: Science in Action’ conference on Thursday the 15th of November was that a lot of excellent work currently being done behind the scenes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Irish agriculture will soon lead to a change in public perception towards the sector. This is because agriculture and climate change science are no longer working as adversaries but instead as partners in mitigating against climate change.
The conference was hosted by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., Minister of State Martin Heydon T.D., and Minister of State Senator Pippa Hackett saw approximately 500 delegates gather at the Aviva Stadium to hear the latest climate science and policy developments.
The importance of research that provided accurate figures on Irish Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions was stressed repeatedly. It was noted that emissions from Irish pastures was 12% less than previously assumed and this type of accurate data was important for the creation of a national GHG inventory. A total of €3.8 million was announced in new research funding for collaborative projects on climate and agriculture, with an expected €8.8 million of further research funding soon to be announced.
Attendees received presentations from a range of preeminent national and international researchers who presented findings from a broad spectrum of research which included; Sinead Waters (Teagasc) on feed additives to reduce methane, Prof. Donagh Berry (Teagasc) on breeding strategies to reduce methane, and Prof. Tommy Boland (UCD) on soil and pasture management to reduce nitrous oxide and increase carbon sequestration. Karl Richards (Teagasc) presented on reducing GHG emissions from soils.
Presentations with an international perspective came from Prof. Bob Reed (SRUC) on nitrous oxide emissions and Hayden Montgomery (Global Methane Hub) on global methane emission research.
Delegates also heard about a strong selection of international collaborative climate research initiatives that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are currently participating in, such as; the 2023 Ireland – New Zealand Joint Research Call. This initiative is a collaboration between DAFM and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.
It was again reiterated by Minister McConalogue in his closing remarks that when all the current research has finally been published, Irish agriculture will be in a much stronger position to play its part in combating climate change.
Watch the video of the conference below: