20 Jul 2016
IRELAND’S 2030 CLIMATE TARGETS MORE BALANCED – FARMERS’ FOCUS ON IMPROVING SUSTAINABILITY WILL CONTINUEEnvironment & Rural Affairs
IFA President Joe Healy has described greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to be delivered by 2030 as challenging but more balanced than previous targets set by the European Commission.
“The reduction obligation announced today (Wed) for Ireland’s non-emissions trading sector, which includes agriculture, transport and housing, will be extremely challenging, given the low mitigation potential of sectors such as agriculture. However, farmers’ focus will remain on the sustainable intensification of food production in Ireland, which has the lowest carbon footprint in milk production and the fifth lowest in beef production in Europe.”
“All sectors must play their part, and agriculture can support the transport sector and housing sector to deliver more, through the greater use of indigenous bio-energy fuels in the transport sector and renewable fuels such as miscanthus for heating family homes.”
This is a point which was emphasised to Climate and Energy Minister Denis Naughten in a meeting earlier today. IFA called for the immediate commencement of the National Energy Forum and meaningful feed-in tariff supports for emerging community based renewables in Ireland, particularly around solar and biomass.
“Today’s targets reflect the reality that we cannot address the climate challenge in isolation. Wider policy objectives and societal and political implications must also be considered. This point is accepted in national, European and international climate policy but this is no reason for complacency. Ireland has a responsibility to act, and within this context, agriculture has an important role to play – while respecting the need to safeguard food production.”
Concluding he said, “Farmers will continue to farm sustainably, with over 87% of the measures in Ireland’s Rural Development Programme having climate reducing elements. In addition the emissions intensity per calorie of food output in 2013 approximately 14% below 2005. This figure is projected to reach 25% by 2030, based on the delivery of current policy measures. However sustainability must also deliver an economic return for farm families.”