UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Doris Läpple, National University of Ireland, Galway

Agricultural Trade Liberalization, GHG Emissions and Irish Agriculture

Date and Location

Thursday, October 31, 2019, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM


Irish agriculture is heavily livestock (beef and dairy) dependent and EU preferential market access has been a key driver for Irish livestock production and exports. Trade liberalization through the removal of EU dairy quotas in 2015 and the simultaneous surge in China's import demand for milk powder favoured dairy production in Ireland. Increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a by-product of dairy's expansion complicate Ireland's position on climate change because it has a commitment to reduce GHG emissions, and a disproportionate share of those emissions originate with livestock. Using detailed farm level emissions data, we measure the effect of dairy expansion and dairy to beef substitution on GHG emission intensity and total GHG emissions on a representative sample of Irish dairy farms from 2000 to 2017. Our results indicate that increased focus on dairy production reduces GHG emission intensity. This has implications for understanding the competitiveness of the Irish dairy industry given that Brexit and impending trade deals (e.g., with Mercosur) could further support substitution in production from beef to dairy.

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