Northern Ireland will need to lose more than 1 million sheep and cattle to meet its new legally binding climate emissions targets, according to an industry-commissioned analysis seen by the Guardian.
After the death of the, the large-scale reduction in farm animal numbers occurs. First ever climate act in a jurisdictionIt requires that the farming sector achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050 and reduce methane emission by nearly half over the same time.
A third of methane emissions from humans are caused by livestock. This is mainly due to the manure and burps of beef and dairy cows. KPMG was commissioned by the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) to analyze the situation. It found that Northern Ireland would need to lose more than 500,000 cattle and 700,000 sheep to meet the new climate targets.
A separate analysis by UK climate advisors has shown that chicken numbers would need to be reduced by 5 million by 2035. Both the Nothern Ireland: The poultry and pig sectorsThe past decade has seen rapid growth.
For many years, Northern Ireland has been the only devolved administration that does not have dedicated climate legislation or targets for emissions reduction. Concerns have been raised for years by the agrifood industry in the region and related farming groups about the expected impacts of emissions reductions.
Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions come from 27% of its agricultural sector. The vast majority of these emissions are caused by livestock. Its heavily export-driven meat sector supplies Great Britain, but it also ExportsTo ChinaNorth America.
Moy Park, the country’s principal poultry processor and a subsidiary of Brazilian meat giant JBS, has grown into one the largest such firms in Europe and Northern Ireland, while JMW Farms, an Armagh-based pig producer, saw its gross turnover increase. Nearly triple to 54mBetween 2011 and 2020
KPMG spokesperson said: [Climate Change Acts]We have assumed that beef, dairy, and sheep are the most important sectors to decarbonise. This is due to their large impact on carbon emissions.
Both the poultry and pork sectors have a minimal impact on agriculture carbon dioxide emissions (2% and 1%) and so any efforts to decarbonize can be assumed that they will have a minimal impact on total carbon emission.
Ewa Kumetowicz, head, Land Use Mitigations Team at the Climate Change Committee (CCC), stated that red meat livestock sources beef, milk, and sheep have the highest greenhouse gas emission because they are ruminant and have high methane levels.
Indirect emissions from fodder production and supply are a major concern for poultry and pigs. While this would not necessarily have an impact on UK territorial emission, it is still important because we don’t want the UK to increase its consumption of pig food.
CCC chief executive Chris Stark told the Guardian that a switch from arable farming is likely to be necessary if Northern Ireland’s food production levels are to stay the same. He said that the condition of our modeling is that we produce the same number of people in 2050. It is very difficult to achieve this without a shift in farming practices, especially if you don’t see a shift in livestock farming.
This is a daunting task and I am interested in what the executive has to say now. The majority of emissions are caused by animals. This will soon be the norm in Northern Ireland.
We reached out to the devolved Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for comment.
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