IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney will meet with senior officials from the European Commission in Brussels tomorrow. This meeting takes place at a time when members of the Commission’s Environment Committee are negatively targeting agriculture, by seeking to significantly reduce the positive contribution that forestry is making to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Thomas Cooney said, “Current proposals by MEPs who sit on the Commission’s Environment Committee are short-changing farmers in Ireland and may result in over 9 million tonnes of carbon savings from forestry generated by farmers being disregarded.
“Ireland faces significant challenges over the next decade to deliver on EU climate obligations. While emissions from farming have fallen by 6%, emissions from transport have increased by 130% since 1990 and overall national emissions increasing by 7% over the same period.
“Members of the European Parliament should not be unravelling existing agreements. They should be doing everything in their power to maximise the carbon saving potential of agriculture, whether that is from renewable energy production, forestry, permanent pastures or bio-energy.”
Concluding, Thomas Cooney encouraged Ireland’s MEPs to ensure that climate policy is implemented in compliance with the international Paris agreement in a manner that does not threaten food production and food security.
He also welcomed Minister Leo Varadkar’s focus on the energy and transport sectors for future emission reduction cuts. He said he looks forward to working to deliver in these areas, and called for the long awaited renewable heat incentive scheme and bio-energy programme to be announced.