Climate ActionEnvironment

Full Implementation of Teagasc Roadmap Required, While Maintaining Ireland’s Model of Sustainable Food Production

Addressing today’s (Wed) meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, IFA President Joe Healy has called on the Committee to support the full implementation of the Teagasc climate roadmap for the sector & Ireland’s carbon efficient model of food production.

IFA President Joe Healy said, “Ireland has a carbon efficient model of food production, with the European Commission confirming that Ireland’s dairy farmers have the lowest carbon footprint for milk and our beef farmers are amongst the five most carbon efficient in the EU. This has been a key contributor to the growth of Ireland’s agri-food sector, with exports of €13.5bn in 2017, employing over 300,000 directly and indirectly.”

The Common Agriculture Programme is very much climate focused, with 87% of the measures in Ireland’s Rural Development programme having environmental measures.

This is supported by the fact that there are over 200,000 carbon assessments completed on farms as part of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme.

He added, “There is increasing global demand for the high-quality food types that Irish farmers produce efficiently. It’s important that this sustainable production is not restricted, as it would lead to increased international climate emissions. This would happen because regions like the Brazilian Amazon in South America would be deforested to meet this growing demand. This is a real possibility with the new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro already promising to take Brazil out of the Paris Agreement.”

“The Teagasc climate roadmap published in June this year, represents a clear strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. However, it requires whole of Government support. I have written to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and sought his climate leadership in co-ordinating the coming together the key Government Departments and state agencies to fully deliver this climate roadmap.”

Thomas Cooney said, “Agriculture deserves to have a fairer representation of its climate actions. For example, why are the carbon sinks from Ireland’s permanent pastures, hedgerows and forestry excluded when it comes to climate change and agriculture?
Agriculture has many roles, as food, fuel and energy producers, with low climate mitigation potential. This is recognised at EU and UN level. However previous hearings of this Committee have heard the Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council acknowledge the complexity of addressing agriculture and climate and the Chair of the Citizens’ Assembly recognises that insufficient time was given to considering this.”

Concluding Thomas Cooney said, “Farmers are engaged in climate action. From a carbon efficiency perspective, we are best in class. We seek logical proposals from the Oireachtas Climate Committee, which takes full account of the potential economic and social impact on farm families and the wider rural economy.”

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