Northern Ireland Needs To Lose 1 Million Sheep and Cattle To Meet Legally-Binding Climate Targets

Northern Ireland faces a loss of more than 1 million cattle and sheep to meet climate emissions targets identified in the jurisdiction’s freshly passed climate act. But the problem is, what would the wet and hilly region produce instead for food?

The climate change legislation — which is also the first ever for Northern Ireland — commits the region to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, as well as a separate reduction target of 46% for methane emissions. Methane from the burps and manure of cows and dairy cattle account for a third of human-caused methane emissions, causing this climate issue to be largely associated with the agricultural sector.

Industry representatives commissioned an analysis from KPMG, and they estimate that the region would need to lose over 500,000 cattle and about 700,000 sheep to meet the new emission targets.

UK Climate Change Committe chief executive Chris Stark told The Guardian that to produce the same amount of food per head in 2050, a switch to arable farming might be necessary. “But it’s very difficult to do this unless you see a change in farming practice, and especially unless you see a shift in arable farming versus livestock,” he said.

But this seems all too easier said than done as recent data from the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs show that only 4.4% or 45,600 hectares of Northern Ireland farmlands is arable, which actually explains why most of the land is dominated by pastoral farming.

The industry is yet to receive word on how the new legislation will be enforced, but as environmentalist Patrick Moore points out, people might have to be removed, too!

Information for this briefing was found via The Guardian and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Views expressed within are solely that of the author. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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