IFA Climate Change spokesman Jer Bergin has criticised the position adopted by the European Parliament as potentially damaging to economic recovery and based on flawed calculations of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Parliament’s position which was narrowly adopted ahead of the UN climate change talks in Cancún, Mexico this week (29 November – 10 December) has failed to address the science behind the climate change debate and is totally flawed. The current international greenhouse gas emissions accounting method takes no account of the carbon sinks associated with grassland and forestry. For Ireland, this is extremely unfair because the Country has the largest carbon absorbing permanent pastures in Europe and the greatest potential to expand the forestry sector. Any EU move to 30% and international agreement must include these important carbon sinks.”
“A step-up to 30% target must also be matched by a similar commitment from more carbon intensive regions. For example, unless South America is required to produce food as environmentally efficient as Europe and in particular Ireland then international emission will simply increase beyond control. Ireland is the third largest international exporter of beef in the world and our grass based production system ensures that Irish farmers produce beef with less carbon intensity than other exporting nations. Over the past 20 years emissions from milk and beef production have all declined in Ireland. We have a low carbon model of food production and EU negotiators in Cancún must not undermine the very important agriculture sector.”