Climate Bill Provides Opportunity for the Sustainable Development of the Agri-food Sector

IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Harold Kingston has described the Climate Bill published by the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly as a pragmatic attempt to put a framework on how the climate challenge is addressed in Ireland over the next several decades.

Harold Kingston said, “The Government’s commitment not to introduce divisive and unachievable sectoral targets has been delivered in this Bill and represents a significant move forward from positions taken by previous Governments”.

He added, “Under this legislation, Teagasc will be members of the climate expert advisory council and therefore will now have a significant role in the formation of future climate policy. It is essential that this group focuses on resource efficiency measures which contribute to long-term emission reductions, such as a well-funded GLAS environmental scheme and the wider roll out of the voluntary farmer initiative Smart Farming”.

IFA has also called for the completion of full regulatory impact assessment before the new climate laws is enacted.

Mr. Kingston concluded, “The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector, with significant sustainable growth potential. The sector supports 300,000 jobs in every part of the country and exported over €10bn worth of food and drink in 2014. Therefore it is essential that a comprehensive impact assessment is completed which sets out the full economic impact of proposed legislation. It must be balanced, safeguard our sustainable model of food production and in line with our EU obligations”.

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