Ireland commits to reducing livestock numbers by 2010 to cut methane production

The Irish Government has published its Climate Control Strategy, which it describes as ambitious and far-reaching, and includes features such as a substantial cut in the number of livestock by 2010 in order to reduce methane emissions, and a commitment to greenhouse gas taxation.

“Business as usual is no longer an option for Ireland,” said Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Noel Dempsey, at the launch of the Climate Strategy on 2 November. Ireland’s growing greenhouse gas emissions and growing wealth have placed a high degree of responsibility on the country, said the Minister.

“In publishing the Strategy, the Government’s intent is crystal clear,” said Dempsey. “We have set out a radical blueprint for decoupling economic growth from growth in greenhouse gas emissions. We are placing a real premium on sustainable development, with maximum eco-efficiency, at home.”

Key initiatives in the strategy include:

  • a commitment to put in place an appropriate framework of greenhouse gas taxation, prioritising CO2 emissions from 2002 on a phased, incremental basis;
  • a commitment to participate in international emissions trading as a supplement to domestic action, and not a substitute to it;
  • a substantial reduction in methane emissions from agriculture by 2010 equivalent to a reduction of 10% in livestock numbers based on current and future European policies;
  • a balanced range of measures to address fuel efficiency, and demand management;
  • restructuring of the new house grant to favour more energy efficient houses.

“Our record economic growth means that, even with flexibility to complete our development against a low baseline in 1990, our strategy must be radically different in the coming decade,” says Dempsey. “Our real challenge now is, in effect, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 20% in the next ten years. We intend to do this in a manner that protects our economy, that is equitable, and that will place a premium on efficiency and on technical innovation.”

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