International Climate Change Talks Must Recognise Important Role of Sustainable Food Production – IFA

IFA President John Bryan has urged international negotiators that are participating in the current climate change talks in Durban to recognise the flaws in the Kyoto Protocol, which takes no account of the carbon sinks associated with grassland and forestry, or of the increasing demand for food by the growing international population.

Mr. Bryan said, “Agriculture is different and the negotiations in Durban must recognise this. The sector has a dual function; reducing emissions while feeding an ever-increasing global population, and therefore choices need to be made. In Ireland, it is wrong that the emission accounting methodology ignores our extensive carbon absorbing permanent pastures and forestry.”

John Bryan was also critical of the European Union’s efforts to unilaterally mover to a deeper cut in emission reductions at a time when other regions are standing back from the process. “A step-up to 30% target must 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.”

Concluding, he said, “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 Durban must not undermine the very important agriculture sector.”

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