When we look at Leitrim greenhouse gases emissions, Agriculture is the “timid” elephant in the room, at 43% of total emissions.
Why timid? Because Leitrim Agriculture Emissions is large only relative to the other sectors, taking up the space left by the absence of heavy industries and fossil fuel plants.
However, if we put things in perspective, we discover that the low-intensity farming practices in Leitrim produce arguably the lowest climate impact in Ireland. Remarkably, Leitrim Agriculture Emissions are 53% less emissions per hectare, compared to the national average.
At the same time, we shall consider the role of High Nature Value farms as biodiversity oases and the fact that farms in Leitrim include hedgerows and native woodland that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
However, the provision of such Ecosystem Services and Public Goods is not credited and farmers’ income is too low, resulting in more and more farms being pushed out of the market.
Being already low-carbon doesn’t mean there’s no room for further improvements, but we cannot afford the loss of nature’s guardians. Sustainable farming shall be empowered.
Note: farming activities lead to two main types of greenhouse gases: methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). For reporting and comparability purposes we converted them into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq), using their respective global warming potential (GWP). A molecule of methane is 28 times more powerful (in terms of heath-trapping power) than carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide 256 times more (on a 100-years time horizon).