IFA Calls for a New Approach to Address the Climate Challenge

In a detailed submission to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, IFA President Eddie Downey has called for a new approach to addressing the climate challenge, which recognises the real concerns regarding food security and water availability.

Eddie Downey said, “Food security and water availability cannot be ignored when addressing the climate challenge. Demand for food is projected to increase by 70% by 2050 due to increasing global population, with demand for meat projected to increase by 85% over the same period. In addition, the United Nations predicts a 40% worldwide water shortfall and an increase of 55% in demand for water within 15 years”.

“These facts cannot be ignored. A new approach must be developed at an international level. This approach must put food security, sustainable intensification and other issues such as water scarcity at the centre of future climate policy.”

IFA has also called on Government to continue to support the sustainable intensification of the agri-food sector.

Mr. Downey said, “Supporting emission efficient food production in regions such as Ireland provides a credible mechanism to addressing the challenges of climate change, food security and water stress and this must continue to be supported by Government.”

On carbon sinks, IFA has called for full recognition of these sinks from forestry, bioenergy, grasslands and aquaculture.

IFA’s Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Harold Kingston said, “Greenhouse gasses attributed to the agriculture sector must be accurately reported through the full recognition of the mitigation potential of carbon sinks from forestry, bioenergy, grasslands and aquaculture. These sinks are an important means to significantly reduce emissions from the sector”.

He has also called for the development of a land based renewables strategy. “This can play a major role in achieving emission reductions and delivering renewable energy obligations. This strategy must include improved REFIT tariffs, the development of end-use markets for renewable crops and the co-ordination of activity between state agencies to ensure renewable energy obligations are delivered, emissions are reduced and job creation is supported in rural areas.”

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