IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has called on Oireachtas members to facilitate a solutions focused approach to addressing the climate challenge.
Speaking following the decision to establish a special Oireachtas committee on climate action, Thomas Cooney said, “The most recent EPA data represents a stark call to action. Since 1990, overall national emissions have increased by 10%, driven mainly by extra cars on the road, where emissions have increased by 145%. Climate emissions from agriculture have fallen by 3.5% over the same period, but this does not provide room for complacency.
“Farmers have hopes, like everyone else in society, to improve their standard of living. This should be about producing food, fuel and energy as well as enhancing the environment and not about divisive talk of culling the national herd.
“Unlike other sectors, such as transport which can displace fossil fuel powered cars with hybrid and electrical vehicles, it is widely accepted that there is no ‘silver-bullet’ solution to address the climate challenges in agriculture without compromising Ireland’s grass based climate efficient model of food production.
“However there are key actions, as identified by Teagasc, that Government and the new Committee on Climate Action can deliver on. These include an increased focus on sustainability advisory support for farmers and the introduction of supports to displace fossil fuel use in the sector. For example, Teagasc has recently highlighted that farming can deliver annual reductions in greenhouse gas emission of 2 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalent by displacing fossil fuels with bioenergy crops and renewable energy production. This must be among the range of measures driven by the new Committee on Climate Action, if they are to be effective and deliver real change”, Thomas Cooney concluded.