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WILD IDEAS

Agricultural land in Co. Wexford

THE WORLD’S POPULATION IS EXPECTED TO EXCEED NINE BILLION BY 2050. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION MUST THEREFORE INCREASE BY AN ESTIMATED 70 PER CENT, ACCORDING TO THE UN FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATION. recognised when looking at greenhouse gas emissions from the sector. Internationally, the mitigation potential of agricultural soils is between one and four billion tonnes of CO2/year. =VIKPQM^IJTMJQVLQVO[MK\WZ[XMKQÅK\IZOM\[IZM]V_WZSIJTMI\IV international or national level. This is a point well recognised by the Irish Government in the draft climate legislation being debated in Dáil Éireann. It was also successfully advocated at EU level by Ireland last October, when the heads of government agreed a climate text, concluding that agriculture has many roles including food, energy and fuel production, as well as environmental protection.

The Challenges Ahead The next round of climate talks in advance of the international summit in Paris at the end of the year will take place in Bonn in June. A different approach for agriculture that recognises food security, sustainable development of the sector and carbon sinks will have to be developed if there is to be a successful outcome to the Paris summit. The IFA recently participated in an international climate conference in France and called for a new approach to address the climate challenge, which puts food security and sustainable QV\MV[QÅKI\QWVI\\PMKMV\ZMWNN]\]ZMKTQUI\MXWTQKa The world’s population is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050. Agricultural production must therefore increase by an estimated 70 per cent, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. This fact cannot be ignored at a time when the international community is also seeking to halve global emissions over the same period. A demand for the agriculture sector to achieve such emission reductions at the same time as growing output is not feasible. France will host the UN international climate talks in Paris this December, which will seek to identify a global plan to address 16

Irish Wildlife Summer ‘15

this challenge over the next decade. Based on comments made by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, at the conference, agriculture seems to be starting in a good place. While acknowledging the intimate link between agriculture and climate, he said that agriculture’s response must evolve towards sustainable production and better management of resources. A number of recommendations were put forward at the conference to build on this and lead to a more sustainable future for farmers, foresters and the world’s population. Most importantly, there is a need to differentiate agriculture from other sectors when it comes to greenhouse gas emission reductions. This is a point that was broadly ignored in previous international talks and past mistakes must not be repeated. The majority of emissions from agriculture differ from other sectors such as industry and transport; the gases are naturally occurring and result from the primary aim of addressing the global food security challenge. Agriculture, climate change and food security are all interlinked. The overall approach to the agriculture sector must recognise these multiple challenges. IFA is lobbying in Europe and internationally to ensure that the international talks in Paris build on recent EU heads of government agreements and deliver a fair and balanced agreement for agriculture in December.

The IWT invited Harold to respond to Elaine Dromey’s article that appeared in the last Wild Ideas column. While we don’t necessarily agree with the contents of this piece, we are anxious to improve communication with farmers’ organisations and hear their side of the story.

Irish Wildlife Trust  
Irish Wildlife Trust  

Summer 2015