Ireland’s growing animal-agriculture sector is hindering its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the goals it set forth in its National Policy Position, according a report issued by the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC). In 2016, emissions from the agriculture sector increased by 2.7 percent and the total number of dairy cows in the region has increased by 6.2 percent—which represents a 25.1-percent increase, a total of 270,000 more dairy cows, since 2011. In the non-dairy sector, the number of cows in Ireland has increased by 168,000 animals since 2016, and 475,000 since 2011. The report stressed that focusing on more efficient production methods has not sufficiently reduced greenhouse-gas emissions in the agriculture sector. CCAC issued a statement warning that Ireland would “drift further from a pathway that is consistent with transition to a low-carbon economy and society” if it did not curtail its current practices. This month, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy released figures that confirmed that the top five meat and dairy producing companies (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Fonterra, and Dairy Farmers of America) collectively emit more greenhouse gases than the top three oil companies (ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell) combined.

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