IFA Climate Change spokesman Jer Bergin has called for the “reframing of the climate change debate and a move away from policy formation based on unachievable targets”.
Speaking following a meeting with National Economic and Social Council (NESC), who are currently finalising an interim report to Government on potential policies and measures to reduce emissions Jer Bergin said, “In the interest of economic recovery, a more market orientated climate policy is required, which achieves a better balance between the sustainable growth of the agri-food sector and emission reduction objectives.”
“Emissions from agriculture are different and this view is recognised by many, including the ESRI. Farmers in Ireland produce food more emission efficient than many other large food exporting nations and global demand is increasing. There is an obligation to ensure that international greenhouse gas emissions are not increased because of carbon leakage. Emission efficient food produced in Ireland must not be displaced by less sustainable beef and dairy products from other regions such as Brazil.”
“A silver bullet solution does not exist, which will allow Ireland to comply with its full emission reduction obligations. However a central part of the Government’s strategy is based on the delivery of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan, which if fully implemented could save the national exchequer €200million each year in expenditure on carbon credits. The Government must come forward with more realistic energy payments, and the development of markets to maximise the potential of the sector to reduce emissions and stimulate employment.”
The agri-food sector is playing its part, it is anticipated that the sector will have reduced its emissions by over 12% since 1990. Future policy formation depends on developing least-cost strategies and considering all options, including flexibility mechanisms. IFA will work with Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture and other organisations to implement cost effective strategies such as better grassland management, better nutrient management and improved herd breeding to ensure the sector plays its part.”