IFA President Eddie Downey has welcomed the appointment of Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly to the role of Chairman of the European Parliament’s negotiating committee for the International Climate Change Agreement.
Eddie Downey said he looked forward to working with Sean Kelly to achieve an outcome to the international climate talks in Paris later this year which delivers a fair and balanced outcome for agriculture. “Agriculture, climate change, food security and resource stress such as water availability are all interlinked. The overall climate response in the Paris conference must ensure that these multiple challenges are addressed for the agriculture sector.”
He also called on Sean Kelly to ensure that agriculture’s role in contributing to further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is fully recognised. “The carbon storage potential of agricultural soils, forestry and bioenergy needs to be acknowledged when looking at greenhouse gas emissions from the sector. Internationally, the mitigation potential of agricultural soils is between one and four billion tonnes of CO2/year.”
IFA Environment Chairman Harold Kingston said, “Ireland is a world leader in sustainable production, measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the supply chain, whether inside the farm gate or at processor level. No other country can look at its agri-food sector and refer to initiatives such as Origin Green, the quality beef assurance scheme, Smart Farming or the sustainable dairy assurance scheme and say ‘We are environmentally sustainable at what we produce and it is independently verified’. These initiatives are valuable for maintaining existing markets and securing new ones. However, sustainability must also deliver an increased economic return to the farmer”.
Harold Kingston said, “Sean Kelly is now in an important position to ensure that a different approach for agriculture is put in place. This new approach must address food security, the sustainable development of the sector and recognise carbon sinks if there is to be a successful outcome to the Paris Summit later this year”.