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Ireland also wants less nitrogen from agriculture, but doesn't know how yet

Talks between the party leaders of the three coalition parties in Ireland have again ended without agreement on reducing nitrogen emissions from the agricultural sector. They do agree that total emissions across Ireland should be halved in the coming years, but politicians are not yet in agreement on a breakdown between industries. 

Since the 2020 elections, Ireland has been ruled by a coalition of Liberals, Christian Democrats and Greens. Ireland's total nitrogen emissions must fall by 51% in eight years and reach net zero emissions by 2050 to stay within the three-party coalition agreement. For Irish agriculture, a reduction task could equate to somewhere between 22 and 30 percent.

Prime Minister Micheál Martin, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Greens party leader Eamon Ryan were once again unable to break the deadlock in Dublin. An agreement is now unlikely to be reached before the last cabinet meeting before the summer recess. Other sources do not rule out that the matter will be postponed to September.

Agriculture is responsible for 37.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland, by far the largest of all sectors. The sector's emissions increased by 3% last year, and agricultural emissions increased for the second year in a row.

The reasons cited are the use of nitrogen fertilizer, a higher number of dairy cows and an increase in milk production. The number of dairy cows has increased for the eleventh consecutive year, while milk production per cow has also increased by 2.5%. 

Irish Prime Minister Martin said earlier this week that Ireland must “balance the problem of food security with the problem of climate”.

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