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A Systems thinking approach investigating the estimated environmental and economic benefits and limitations of industrial hemp cultivation in Ireland from 2017–2021

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-09, 08:16 authored by Sinead M Madden, Alan RyanAlan Ryan, Patrick WalshPatrick Walsh

 There may be unrecognised environmental and economic benefits in cultivating industrial hemp for CO2 sequestration in Ireland. By using a Systems Thinking approach, this study aims to answer how industrial hemp, which can sequester between 10 tonnes (t) to 22 t of CO2 emissions per hectare, has been helpful towards carbon sequestration efforts in Ireland. A mixed-methods design combining qualitative and quantitative secondary material is used to inform Behaviour over Time Graphs (BoTGs) to illustrate the data from 2017 to 2021. In 2019 at its peak of hemp cultivation in Ireland the total CO2 emissions from agriculture was 21,156.92 kilotonnes, and the total land cultivated with hemp was 547 hectares which represented an estimated 0.0079% of total land use and 0.011% of agricultural land use. Based on a sequestration rate of between 10 t and 22 t of CO2, industrial hemp had the potential to remove between 5470 t and 24,068 t of CO2 in 2019. The total amount of estimated CO2 sequestrated between 2017 and 2021 was between 14,660 t and 64,504 t of CO2. This represents an estimated contribution in carbon tax equivalent of between €348,805 and €1,534,742, respectively. 


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