Farming survey: One third of farmers don’t think farming hits climate

One in three Irish farmers do not think that farming impacts negatively on climate change.

85-year-old Edward Dowse in action during the special horse class at the National Ploughing championships. Picture Dan Linehan

An Irish Examiner/ ICMSA poll found that 60% of farmers have acted to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but 30% are sceptical as to their impact on the sector.

It shows 88% of farmers believe climate change is real, while 61% have implemented measures on their farm to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, with younger farmers and those with larger farms more likely to have done so.

Half believe farming contributes negatively to climate change — though only 10% strongly agree — while 30% disagree. The poll also shows that 30% of respondents do not agree that the Government is doing enough to tackle climate change, compared with 52% who do.

The tumultuous rainfall and subsequent flooding in Co Donegal last month again focussed attention on extreme weather events and the possibility they could become more common due to the impact of climate change.

EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said the results showed the “lazy narrative” that farmers were not helping to fight climate change was wrong, adding that the CAP would need to do more to increase those efforts in future.

Paul Deane of the Environmental Research Institute at UCC said while the farm sector had made progress, agriculture was Ireland’s main climate challenge. He said Irish dairy and beef has some of the lowest associated emissions per unit of production in the world but agriculture accounts for about one third of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll

The Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll was designed to provide a robust and accurate snapshot of the attitudes, beliefs and opinions of the farming community about a range of issues, both farming and social. The survey involved 569 interviews with farm dwelling adults in the Republic of Ireland.

Fieldwork was completed by Behaviour & Attitudes over a two-week period between August 13 and 27, with interviewing undertaken onsite by Behaviour & Attitudes interviewers across eight agricultural shows. The sample size is large and the data has a statistical margin of error of +/-4%.

The sampling approach involves a random probability method, with interviews being undertaken with attendees provided they worked and/or lived on a farm. 429 interviews were with farmers themselves, 31 with non family, farm employees, and the balance with spouses (66), most of whom -5 out of 6- personally work on the family farm as well.

All data is copyrighted by the Irish Examiner and Behaviour & Attitudes and should be attributed to this source where quoted.

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