The Minister for Agriculture said it will be a challenge for Ireland to cut its carbon emissions without cutting food production.
Every EU country has been asked to scale back its emissions of greenhouse gases - which could threaten Ireland's dairy herd.
However, Minister Simon Coveney said he is determined to make sure Irish farmers do not have to scale back.
"Any old fool can reduce emissions by simply reducing production. There's no challenge in that," he told the Dáil.
"The challenge for the globe, and for Ireland in terms of giving leadership in this area is finding a way to produce more food while reducing the overall emissions footprint of our production systems."