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Seven facilities create emissions equal to 70% of Irish dairy cows

Just 7 facilities produce the equivalent of 70% of Ireland’s dairy cows, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association.

The figures, which were revealed by Tadgh Buckley, the IFA’s Director of Policy and Chief Economist, include many of Ireland’s biggest industrial plants and refineries.

The list includes Dublin Airport, Drogheda Cement Plant, Ballyconnell Cement Plant, Limerick Cement Plant, Whitegate Oil Refinery, Corrib Gas Field and Kinnegad Cement Plant.

“Interesting to compare the emissions of large Irish facilities with dairy cows using Climate TRACE data,” tweeted Buckley, commenting on the data.

“In 2021 the top 7 facilities in Ireland emitted as much as 70% of the total dairy cows in Ireland. Reinforces why we need a balanced debate in this area.”

According to official data, agriculture accounted for 10.2% of the total CO2 equivalent emissions in Ireland last year.

Notably, this is 10.2% of the 0.09% that Ireland contributes to the global total according to the EU.

This means that, in total, Irish agriculture accounts for 0.009% of global carbon emissions.

Despite this fact, the government has set strict carbon emission cuts targets for the sector, aiming to reduce agricultural emissions by 25% as of earlier this year.

This move was highly controversial when it was first announced, with many farmers and rural TDs saying that the target would be devastating to rural businesses.

Again, for a sense of scale, if Ireland cut 25% of its agricultural emissions, the amount of global man made CO2 would go down by a total 0.002%.

However, the graphic prompted responses from some twitter users who said that it actually reinforced the need to act on climate measures.

“I think framing is everything in this instance. It can be switched around as follows,” said one user.

“Dairy cows alone emit 30% more CO2 than the top seven emitting facilities in Ireland including Dublin airport, the Corrib gas field and the three largest cement plants.”

Gript recently interviewed climate protesters at an Extinction Rebellion event, many of whom said that Ireland would “absolutely” have to cull the national herd to zero, and ban meat farming entirely by law.

The link to that interview can be viewed below.


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