Commissioner Hogan Must Safeguard Ireland’s Sustainable Food Production in Agri-environment Talks – IFA

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has called on Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to directly intervene in the current EU discussions taking place on ammonia and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

He said, “Ireland’s agri-food sector is growing carbon efficiently, with overall emissions declining by 9% since 1990 as the sector recorded its sixth consecutive year of growth in 2015. However, this sustainable development has the potential to be undermined by a negative outcome to either the EU ammonia or greenhouse gas emissions discussions. This would result in a major setback to the sustainable intensification of our emission efficient agri-food sector and stifle its future growth. Commissioner Hogan’s urgent intervention is required.”

The current Dutch Presidency of the EU has prioritised these discussions and indicated that they would like to conclude Member State emission reduction targets out to 2030 for both ammonia and greenhouse gasses.

Thomas Cooney said, “A rushed deal is not always a good deal, and a more pragmatic approach must be taken by Commissioner Hogan and the EU. Regarding ammonia, a cost-effective and practical solution to deliver the proposed emission reductions does not currently exist, therefore, herd sizes will be impacted. On the climate talks, it is essential that past mistakes are not repeated, and Ireland’s 2030 targets must be deliverable and have regard to the multifunctional roles of the agri-food sector, which include food, fuel and energy production, as well as environmental protection.”

Concluding, Thomas Cooney said IFA is calling on Commissioner Hogan to ensure that the good work of farmers, through initiatives such as Smart Farming, Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme and Teagasc’s carbon navigator, and the ambition to continue to reduce emission intensity in food products, are supported in the current EU discussions.

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