Following the recent announcement of Ireland’s sectoral emissions targets (1), Hemp Cooperative Ireland (HCI) are pressing for the hemp industry to be realised as a viable solution to the country’s vision of emissions reduction, coupled with diversified income opportunities for farmers. Now is the time for targeted support for the hemp industry in assisting the agricultural sector to reduce emissions by 25% from 23 MtCO2eq to 17.25 MtCO2eq by 2030.
- Hemp has been proven to be highly effective to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) by up to 15 tonnes per hectare in a 4 month period – 4 x more than forestry (2)
- No provision for rapid-growth crops has been accounted for in the Government’s CLIMATE ACTION PLAN 2021 (3)
- Fibre crops, such as hemp and flax, can provide carbon-negative raw materials to the construction industry (hempcrete/ insulation material), replacing toxic and flammable imports. (4)
The Irish Government’s CLIMATE ACTION PLAN 2021, launched in November 2021, refers to Carbon Capture and Storage;
“Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) which requires capital expenditure and the development of transport and storage infrastructure.” (3)
The whole document fails to realise the potential of fast-growing crops for CCS and hemp in particular. Nature-based solutions are a faster, cheaper and more sustainable way to reduce CO2 emissions and sequester atmospheric carbon than relying on unproven, expensive technologies such as Direct Air Capture (DAC).
Global climate-related disasters are leading policymakers to find tangible and rapid solutions to the climate emergency, while drastically reducing fossil fuel use and mitigating agricultural emissions – a huge challenge facing our farming/ rural communities. Incorporating hemp into any farming system without significantly changing the integrity of the farm can be achieved 1) without artificial fertiliser, while 2) assisting soil remediation.
HCI is engaging with DAFM, Teagasc, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), and the Food Safety Authority (FSA) to provide a just and viable transition for Ireland, increase farm revenue and regenerate rural areas. With >240 shareholders, Hemp Cooperative Ireland is a diverse and rich organisation, committed to education, advice and promotion of the hemp plant and the thousands of potential applications. (4) (5)
Ireland now has a chance to be a world leader in this area, we implore policymakers, the agricultural sector, and downstream processors for an open dialogue to realise our power. Only through significant government support and investment in our growing indigenous hemp industry, will we achieve a sustainable and just future.
“We at Hemp Cooperative Ireland see a brighter, more prosperous and sustainable future for the country if the hemp industry is supported similarly to our European counterparts. With tangible environmental and socio-economic benefits, hemp is the perfect crop to meet the climate emergency head on.” – Dr. Robert Johnson, Chairperson.
Overall, we consider hemp to be a valuable tool in Ireland’s carbon reduction plan, capable of rapid deployment and with verifiable benefits. We would like to share what we know about the potential of this crop to reduce the economic and environmental costs of climate change.
- “Hemp has been proven to be highly effective in Carbon Sequestration, one of the most important human interventions in the global effort to slow down Climate Change” (APPG Report). According to the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) almost 50,000 hectares of hemp were grown across Europe.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Robert Johnson on 0831499666 for comments/ clarifications.