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Regular Articles

Vol. 22 No. 3 (2020)

Insights in overcoming the non-adoption of voluntary agricultural ghg mitigation measures in Ireland

DOI
https://doi.org/10.3280/ecag3-2020oa11042
Submitted
January 15, 2021
Published
2021-01-15

Abstract

Agricultural Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Ireland are projected to increase up to 21 Mt CO2eq by 2030 mainly driven by increased dairy cow numbers and increased nitrogen fertiliser use. In response to the growing public awareness of the GHG emissions’ environmental impact, the Irish government published the Climate Action Plan in 2019, which identifies the agricultural sector’s leading role in reducing GHG emission and increasing carbon removals to achieve the national GHG emission targets by 2030. Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs) on Irish GHG emissions have projected the total technically feasible mitigation potential for the Irish agriculture, forestry and land use (AFOLU) sector to be sufficient enough to achieve the set targets by 2030. Although these mitigation measures are available and when implemented, would mostly lead to a win-win situation, the voluntary adaptation rate by farmers is low. This study addresses the most significant determinants of voluntary adoption of mitigation measures by systematically examining existing literature on how and to what extent non-price determinants affect
the voluntary adoption rate of technically feasible mitigation measures in the Irish afolu sector. The main identified nonprice determining factors were the degree of farmers’ awareness regarding man-made GHG emissions, receiving agrienvironmental advice, implementation costs, profitability and size of farms, land quality and the type of farm enterprise. Integrating the gained results in the former macc analysis enabled us to adopt the implementation rates of the cost-efficient afolu mitigation measures accordingly. The non-price determinants impact the voluntary uptake rate of AFOLU mitigation measures to the extent that the adjusted total Irish AFOLU abatement potential is 47% lower than technically feasible. Considering that 51.6% of the total estimated AFOLU abatement potential in 2030 is offset through Irish forestry, which at current afforestation rate will turn into a net carbon source by 2035, a significant gap occurs to any potential Irish and EU GHG reduction targets. To substantially help bring the nexus between agricultural development and GHG emission targets in Ireland closer together, policy measures, that differentiate between the different type of AFOLU mitigation measures, need to be implemented to enhance the uptake rate of cost-beneficial and cost-effective measures. This would have the potential to reduce the level of agricultural GHG emissions by 2030 in a way that it would converge towards possible EU and Irish GHG emission reduction targets.

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