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.