Rushing Through Climate Change Bill a Non-runner – IFA

IFA Press Release
Issued by the National Press Office, The Irish Farmers’ Association
Wednesday December 15 2010

IFA President John Bryan has strongly criticised attempts by the Green Party to rush through ill-timed and badly thought out climate change legislation, which he understands is to be discussed at a cabinet meeting today. He said, “Hastily-introduced climate change legislation will be very damaging to the role that the agri-food and other sectors can play in Ireland’s economic recovery. Before the Government moves ahead with any legislation on this matter, it must take full account of Ireland’s sustainable model of farming and change the flawed method of calculating greenhouse gas emissions, to accurately reflect carbon sinks from soils and forestry.”

Mr Bryan added, “The Government’s Food Harvest 2020 Report identifies major growth in exports and jobs from the dairy and livestock sectors. If this legislation is introduced with the unrealistic reduction targets currently proposed it will have a very negative impact on the potential of the sector.”

“It is ludicrous that Ireland could introduce emission reduction targets way in excess of those proposed by other countries, while at the same time countries such as Brazil destroy Amazonian rainforests and allow their greenhouse gas emissions spiral out of control.”

The IFA President said, “Any climate change legislation must take account of the carbon sinks associated with permanent pastures and forestry. This is essential because Ireland has the largest carbon absorbing permanent pastures in Europe and the greatest potential to expand the forestry sector.”

The current proposals contained in the Programme for Government go far beyond demands from the EU Commission and will have a very negative impact on our sector. The Green Party could do much more for climate change by resolving the chaos their inaction has created in the renewable energy sector. An immediate package of measures must be introduced which includes a realistic REFIT tariff to support carbon neutral energy production from the micro and bio and micro energy sectors.

Concluding, the IFA President said, “Ireland’s grass-based production system ensures that we produce beef and milk with lower 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 Government policy must not undermine the sector’s ability to drive exports and jobs as part of our economic recovery.”

Contact:    Niall Madigan  (01) 450 1931/ 086 822 8635

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