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GTAP Resource #1274

"Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Agricultural Sector in Ireland: A CGE Modeling Approach"
by Jensen, Janine, Ronnie O'Toole and Alan Matthews


Ireland is unique among the EU15 countries for the proportion of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which originate in agriculture. In 1998, it was estimated that agriculture, at 35 per cent, was the single largest producer of GHGs. This arises because of the dominance of livestock production, and particularly ruminant livestock, in Irish agricultural output. At the same time, Ireland is one of the least forested countries in Europe, although under its current strategic plan for forestry, the Irish Government sets the objective of increasing the forest cover to 17 per cent by 2030. As forestry acts as a sink through the sequestration of carbon dioxide, it is clear that land use changes could potentially play an important role in helping Ireland to meet its GHG targets under the Kyoto Protocol and the EU burden-sharing agreement.

Previous Irish work on this issue has used an econometric partial equilibrium agricultural sector model with incorporates forestry as an alternative land use (Behan and McQuinn, 2002). The model is used to project the levels of output of the main commodities, as well as the use of synthetic nitrogen, under alternative policy scenarios. The emissions effect of these alternative scenarios is then calculated using established emissions coefficients.

The approach described in this paper uses a CGE model of the Irish economy with a disaggregated agri-food sector. The purpose is to evaluate activity levels for the main agricultural enterprises and for forestry under alternative policy scenarios, to investigate the implications of these scenarios for emission levels using established emissions coefficients, and to obtain estimates of the social cost of reducing GHGs under alternative policies.

These results will be compared with those obtained from the partial equilibrium modeling.


The model used for this exercise is IMAGE, a standard neo-classical static CGE model of the Irish economy. It distinguishes 32 sectors, of which 8 are primary agriculture (4 crops, 4 livestock) and one is forestry. A feature of the model is its differentiation of land use by soil type. This allows us to restrict the mobility of land between particular uses (for example, although forestry can be planted on all three soil types, arable crops cannot be planted on marginal land).


The data used falls into two broad categories, which are economic data and environmental data. The economic data is in the form of a social accounting matrix, with particular detail in the agricultural sector. The environmental data take the form of greenhouse gas emission coefficients which are applied to economic output.

Anticipated Findings

The scenario modeling is at an early stage, although we plan to have useful results by the June conference. A number of different scenarios are planned, including
(a) policies to encourage the extensification of production in the livestock sector
(b) policies to encourage afforestation to meet government targets in this sector
(c) policies to encourage use of cleaner technologies in the livestock sector.


Behan, J. and McQuinn, K., 2002. Projecting Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Irish Agriculture and Forestry, Paper read to the conference ‘The sky’s the limit: Efficient and fair policies on global warming’, Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, 11 December 2002.

IMAGE model web site

Resource Details (Export Citation) GTAP Keywords
Category: 2003 Conference Paper
Status: Published
By/In: Presented at the 6th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis, The Hague, The Netherlands
Date: 2003
Version: 1
Created: Jensen, J. (4/30/2003)
Updated: Bacou, M. (5/6/2003)
Visits: 3,362
- Climate change policy

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